$10.8 Million Renovation Will Bring Short-Term Pain

Next school year, students will eat lunch in the gymnasium. Mobile classrooms will be used, and for the first three months of school, parking on campus will be extremely limited.
By Kyndale Mitchell
Staff Writer
While the school is undergoing a massive positive transformation over the next 18 months, a great deal of construction is going to happen and the Woodlynde community should be prepared for it to be a “challenge,” according to the administration.

For example, until the new cafeteria is ready at the start of the 2020 school year, the gymnasium will be used as the cafeteria, since the current one downstairs will be under construction.

The school is considering two food options: Either lease a kitchen nearby and have Food Service Manager
Joe Ponessa and his crew prepare lunch and have it transported to school, or have a catering company bring food to the school.

For athletics, indoor practices and competitions will take place at a facility off campus.  

The Lower School library will temporarily disappear so it can house the business offices, if it's not needed for extra classroom space. A new mobile building that will be located in the back of the school will hold the advancement office.

There will be two more mobile classrooms like the one near the playground and the Lower School wing that will occupy the upper parking lot.  There will be two classrooms in each of the mobile classroom buildings.

The school is still researching off-campus parking options that will allow everyone to park near the school in the fall. The new parking lot will be available in November; until then, off-campus parking and shuttle service will be provided.

Due to parking issues on campus, open houses and Back to School Night will not take place in October and November.

The Leadership Team “will develop an efficient way to distribute information to all the parents about their children’s classes and teachers at the beginning of the academic year,” Interim Head of School
Mr. King said.

“No other major events will be canceled,” Mr. King said.

Around a half dozen Woodlynde teachers are being displaced during the construction, including Music teacher
Dr. Simmons, who will share the mobile classroom building currently occupied by Music teacher Mr. Richardson.

Mrs. Byrne, Mr. Kupersmith, Mrs. Wilson,
and Ms. Szmajda moved out so the computer servers can be installed next to their classrooms. They will return to their rooms at the beginning of the 2019-20 academic year.

“I’m apprehensive about how things will run while the construction is going on, but I’m excited to have it actually be completed,” Mrs. Byrne said.
Mr. Psulkowski’s art room is also being shut down during the project, with him temporarily moving to Room 111 in the Lower School.

“It is a bummer that we won’t get to use clay for a year, but artists are known for creative problem solving and I am excited to see how I work with my students next year to come up with new ideas of using our temporary space,” he said.

He is feeling positive about how the project will turn out, saying, “I think that this will bring us into the future and out of the ‘70s.”

The two Spanish rooms next to the small cafeteria will be incorporated into the new addition.
Mrs. Clark and Ms. DiNicola will be relocated next year.

The technology room,
Mr. Smith’s room, Mrs. Bohl’s room, and the art room are being vacated for the construction, but those teachers will be able to return to their rooms when the construction is completed, except for Mr. Jacoby and Mr. Alonso from the tech department who will have a new office elsewhere in the new server room.

Mr. King
stated that those who will be impacted are fully aware of what’s happening and are already adjusting to it. He also stated that based on his experience with construction projects, it is important for everyone to understand that plans and deadlines are subject to change.

Woodlynde’s summer school and college bridge programs will not be affected and are scheduled to run as usual.
~ Staff Writer Darrell Moten contributed to this article.
Woodlynde School is a private, co-ed college prep day school located in suburban Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, that serves intelligent, talented students with learning differences in grades K - 12. Woodlynde provides a comprehensive, evidence-based Kindergartenelementarymiddle and high school program in a challenging yet nurturing environment for students with average to above average cognitive abilities (IQ) who have language- or math-based learning differences (such as Dyslexia, Dysgraphia or Dyscalculia), Executive Function Challenges, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), or Auditory Processing Disorder. Even for those students without a diagnosed learning disability (LD), Woodlynde offers expert and caring teachers in small classroom settings that support academic success. Woodlynde School also offers a post-graduate (PG) program in partnership with Rosemont College as well as a regional Summer Camp for students who learn differently.