KCBA Congratulates Anthony Russo and Stephen Custer

KCBA Architects is delighted to announce that two employees have achieved licensure as registered architects in Pennsylvania.

Anthony Russo has been with KCBA since 2009 and acted as a key team member on many of the firm’s largest and highest-profile projects such as the new Science Center at Bucks County Community College, major renovation/expansion of Pottsgrove High School, and the reconstruction of Altoona Area High School. Anthony has also made many positive contributions to the firm’s operations, particularly related to technology and the research and introduction of new design and documentation tools. Most notably he helped spearhead KCBA’s transition to BIM as our primary documentation software early in his tenure and has trained many team members in its use. Anthony holds a Bachelor of Science in Design (Architecture) from Clemson University and Bachelor of Architecture from Temple University.

Stephen Custer joined KCBA in 2019 bringing a background in the design and development of commercial office and retail projects. He has rapidly acclimated and been making strong contributions to a range of KCBA’s projects in the senior living and institutional realms. Stephen brings a passion for technology and is engaged in advancing the firm’s use of different tools and software. He’s also active in professional advocacy efforts and serves on the Board of Directors of the Society of American Registered Architects PA Council. Stephen holds a Master of Architecture from the New Jersey Institute of Technology and a Bachelor of Science in Architecture from Jefferson University.

Michael Kelly, AIA, LEED AP, Principal of KCBA, said, “Congratulations to Anthony and Stephen! I and the rest of the KCBA team join them in celebrating this exciting accomplishment. Both are instrumental members of our firm and we look forward to many more professional achievements during their careers.”

Covid-19 Update

The KCBA Architects team has closely monitored all developments related to the Covid-19 pandemic. The health and safety of our staff and their families is our top priority.

At this time, the majority of our staff members have returned to the offices. All KCBA team members are engaged and actively collaborating with clients and partners. This includes participation in meetings at field locations as well as virtually. While our offices are currently closed to visitors, all team members are accessible via phone or e-mail and pleased to arrange an onsite visit.

Please submit any questions to inquiry@kcba-architects.com.

We will provide updates as this situation evolves and send best wishes to all as we navigate this crisis together.

KCBA Opens New Lehigh Valley Office

KCBA Architects is proud to announce the opening of a second office location in Center Valley, PA. Located at 4647 Saucon Creek Road near PSU Lehigh Valley, the Promenade Shops, and I-78, the office is easily accessible to our clients and partners in the Lehigh Valley as well as northeastern and central PA.

Housed in a bright and open studio space, the new office contains a full complement of architects, interior designers, and technical professionals to service projects of wide-ranging scope and complexity. This team will maintain close communication and collaborative practices with staff in KCBA’s Montgomery County office, strengthening the firm’s technical and logistical capabilities.

KCBA Commissioned for New Lower Moreland High School

KCBA has enjoyed a successful long-term partnership with Lower Moreland Township School District in Huntingdon Valley, PA dating from the renovation/expansion of Pine Road Elementary School in 2011. We are delighted to announce that this collaboration will continue as the firm has been retained for the design of the new Lower Moreland High School.

KCBA was hired in 2018 to conduct a district-wide study that evaluated all facets of the district’s facilities, operations, and delivery of educational programming. A number of challenges were identified relative to building conditions, enrollment capacity, and composition of educational spaces. KCBA and the district then conducted a discovery process to evaluate a wide range of options to meet long-term needs.

The option that was ultimately selected, and currently underway in preliminary design, is the construction of a new high school on the campus of the existing high school on Red Lion Road, conversion of the original high school to a grades 5-8 middle school (introduces 5th grade to the middle school level), and conversion of Pine Road Elementary School to a K-4 alignment (adds capacity to the building by removing 5th grade).

The new high school will house 1,000 students in grades 9-12. Initial plans call for a multi-story building containing a full complement of academics, arts, athletics, administration, and student support spaces.

The original middle school – called Murray Avenue School – is located across the street from the high school and houses the stadium and athletic fields. As part of this program, this building will be demolished and the site reconfigured to serve as an athletics complex.

The preliminary schedule calls for the new high school to open for the 2023-2024 school year.

Multiple Projects Reach Milestones

Fall 2019 has been a busy and exciting period for KCBA and our community partners. Most notably, several projects designed by our team celebrated important milestones:

September 9: Grand opening of Hatfield Borough Building, a new 11,000 sq. ft. municipal administration headquarters that replaced an outdated building on the same property.

October 16: Grand opening of the new Hampton Inn & Suites in Kutztown, a hotel and event center positioned to serve the students and families of Kutztown University.

October 21: Groundbreaking ceremony for Colonial Middle School in Plymouth Meeting, a new building for 1,500 students containing a number of innovative educational spaces and a full complement of outdoor fields and amenities.

October 26: Grand opening of Horsham Township Municipal Building, a new 13,000 sq. ft. administration building on a public campus that also houses two other KCBA projects – a new police station and an existing community center whose exterior was upgraded.

KCBA extends our congratulations to each of our project partners!

Walt Zapor Presents at PHCA Conference

Walt Zapor, LEED AP BD+C, CSI, CDT, a senior associate and leader of KCBA’s senior living studio, is presenting an educational session at the Pennsylvania Health Care Association’s (PHCA) 2019 Annual Convention and Trade Show. An organization that advocates for quality long-term care for the elderly and disabled, the conference features a wide-ranging educational program with a focus on assisted living, personal care, and skilled nursing programs.


The session is titled, “Opportunities: Dementia Support in a Person-Centered Environment.” A growing body of research and published studies provide evidence that the makeup of the physical environment can have a direct positive or negative impact on individuals living with dementia. The session shares recent findings regarding operational and environmental best practices in dementia settings and then reviews a number of specific examples of how these were physically integrated in new construction and building renovation projects. Specific areas of emphasis include issues of territoriality and privacy, awareness and orientation, balancing enrichment with safety, and the benefits of fostering connections with nature.

Four New Elementary Schools Under Construction

The KCBA team is excited to currently be partnering with four school districts in eastern Pennsylvania in the development of new elementary schools. As of summer 2019, all four have advanced to the construction phase in different stages of completion. They are the new Lehigh Elementary School for Northampton Area School District, the new Lynnewood Elementary School for the School District of Haverford Township, the new Uwchlan Hills Elementary School for Downingtown Area School District, and the new Veterans Memorial Elementary School for Parkland School District.

The new schools represent projects of wide ranging nature, context, and size – some will establish a new campus while others replace existing buildings, some are in dense residential neighborhoods while others are in rural environments, and the buildings house student populations ranging from 600 to 750 students.

While each school has been designed to support the respective school district’s educational program and operational parameters, they do share a number of commonalities. Each of the school districts desired to integrate spaces suited to modern instructional practices such as flexible classrooms, dedicated spaces for active learning and collaboration, and a focus on early childhood literacy. Each building features sustainable, green elements such as high efficiency mechanical equipment and water bottle filling stations. And each reflects the latest best practices for campus security related to building configuration, access protocols, and communication infrastructure.

The KCBA team has very much enjoyed our association with each of these school districts and we look forward to the continued development of the buildings. Two are on schedule to open for the 2020-2021 school year and the other two the following year.

Jim Keiffer Attains CPTED Professional Designation

KCBA Architects commends James M. Keiffer, RA, CDT, CPD on his achievement of the Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) Professional Designation issued by the National Institute of Crime Prevention.

A Senior Project Manager at KCBA, Jim brings over 20 years of experience in facility analysis and project implementation with a special focus on educational buildings. Through his architectural projects as well as involvement with educational planning and advocacy groups, he has developed expertise with all facets of school building operations including the latest safety/security strategies and protocols.

The CPTED coursework included 64 hours of instruction, a field assessment, and written examinations exploring the three primary tenets of security in the built environment – physical conditions, policy, and behavior.

With the CPTED designation and his background in school facility projects, Jim has been added to the School Safety and Security Provider Registry managed by the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency. As a member of the registry, he meets the criteria to conduct physical/security and related policy and training assessments to school entities in Pennsylvania.

KCBA Principal Serves on Governor’s School Safety Committee

Michael Kelly, AIA, LEED AP, Principal of KCBA Architects is honored to serve as a member of the School Safety and Security Committee within the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency. Established by Act 44 of 2018, the committee serves to improve education and enhance resources related to security planning for schools throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Kelly serves as the sole architectural representative on the committee and brings extensive knowledge of the latest facility strategies and operational trends in K-12 schools. His background features a wide array of district facilities planning initiatives as well as the design of new and renovated school buildings of all sizes, contexts, and grade levels.

The balance of the committee is made up of accomplished leaders from the education, government, law enforcement, emergency management, academia, and healthcare sectors.

The committee has initially been tasked with developing criteria to be used to assess school safety and security,establishing a registry for vendors who may conduct school safety assessments, issuing a survey to school entities to review school security preparedness, and administering $60 million in funding via grants.

In addition to his work on the committee, Kelly has participated as a presenter and panelist at a number of recent school security forums and conferences including the PA School Safety and Security Exchange sponsored by the Pennsylvania School Boards Association on November 8, 2018.

KCBA Commissioned for New Avon Grove High School

KCBA is excited to announce that the firm has been selected as the architect for Avon Grove School District’s facilities program. This represents a major development in the school district’s multi-year facilities planning process, a community-wide effort that explored a wide range of potential scenarios to meet long-term needs.

Located in southern Chester County Pennsylvania, Avon Grove is a rapidly growing community. While well maintained, the existing secondary school buildings have operational challenges, are incapable of accommodating projected enrollment growth, and are unsuited to the district’s innovative, student-directed academic program. The capital plan that has been chosen for implementation features the construction of a new high school and conversion of the former high school into a middle school.

The first phase of the program is the establishment of the new high school on a beautiful, currently vacant site known as the Sunnyside property. The rolling 153-acre tract will be transformed into a vibrant new hub of activity with a full gamut of indoor and outdoor student and community spaces. The facility will initially house 1750 students in grades 9-12 with the capability to easily expand in the future to accommodate 2200.

The program of the new high school includes a multitude of flexible, collaborative, and project-based spaces which will be interwoven to yield a dynamic platform for learning and development. Key project priorities include the incorporation of advanced security equipment and protocols; a building configuration that invites heavy community use of meeting, arts, and athletic spaces; integration of architectural and cultural features that celebrate the history of the region; utilization of sustainable, energy efficient design strategies and building practices; and resourceful allocation of taxpayer dollars.

Once high school students have relocated to the new building, the current high school will be renovated and converted into a middle school. In addition to integrating advanced, age-appropriate learning environments, building systems and materials will be upgraded and modernized. The project will also enable a grade realignment with 6th grade added to the current 7-8 middle school model, thereby increasing student capacity at the elementary level.

In addition to the opportunity to contribute to a transformational building campaign, the team at KCBA is pleased to renew a long-term, successful professional relationship. Previous collaborations with the school district include the design of Avon Grove Intermediate School (currently housing grades 3-6), the design of the district kindergarten center which is linked to Penn London Elementary School, and the 2007 feasibility study that led to the purchase of the Sunnyside Property.