Hybrid Construction

Case Study: Palmyra Area School District

The Cost of Growth

Like many school districts experiencing rapid growth in Central Pennsylvania, Palmyra Area School District faced the challenge of balancing growing student enrollment while minimizing the local tax impact. Wanting to increase facility capacity through an addition/renovation program, the district engaged an architect to lead a feasibility study. The recommendation of the study was a 20,000-square-foot addition and building-wide upgrades/renovations for $27.1 million, significantly above the program budget (which also included renovations at two other facilities).


Taking a Second Look

The district then engaged Reynolds to review the cost estimates and develop a hybrid program for cost comparison. Reynolds proposed a 19,400-square-foot addition and total facility renovations. As a turnkey package, the Reynolds hybrid project totaled $18,100,000 – costs that included both construction hard costs and soft costs, such as architectural design fees, Reynolds’ MEP design services, Reynolds’ pre-construction and construction management services, and Reynolds’ energy services.

Palmyra MS-hybrid renovation

The Savings of a Hybrid Approach

The hybrid approach met all educational program needs. In addition, using a guaranteed energy savings act (GESA) in conjunction with traditional design/bid/build procurement eliminated a full calendar year from the project schedule. Temporary space during the project was not needed because the existing facility renovation was done over the 10-week summer break. Roughly $12 million in work was put in place in a single summer.

Palmyra MS-trad procurement

Architect-led Feasibility Study Estimate

Hard Cost: $22,900,000

Soft Cost: $4,126,400

Project Cost: $27,026,400


Reynolds’ Enhanced District Options Study Savings Estimate/Results

Hard Cost Savings: $7,787,000

Soft Cost Savings: $1,113,000

Project Cost: $18,100,000

Total Project Savings to District: $8,900,000


“Palmyra was bogged down in moving forward with our middle school addition/renovation project for a number of reasons – sticker shock and [other budgetary constraints and considerations] … We engaged Reynolds in August of 2016…by October we were through design completion and that March we were under construction.”

Darcy Brenner-Smith

Director of Business Affairs

Palmyra Area School District


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