Framing a new addition to Frankford Friends School

The Frankford Friends School annex at Oxford near Griscom is under construction, Monday, May 21, 2012, Philadelphia, Pa. (Maria Pouchnikova)

There’s steel up at Orthodox and Griscom streets. It’s hard to miss what will become of the Frankford Friends School’s new building.

The expansion had been in the works for a while, but construction finally began this year and it’s expected to be completed in time for the 2012–13 school year, Amy Silver O’Leary, the school’s director of development and alumni relations, said Friday.

“It’s right on schedule,” she said.

The new steel was going up early this month as the stone of a more than century-old church was coming down across Orthodox Street. What was the Frankford Group Ministry’s church is now a vacant lot. The more than century-old structure was crumbling and had to be demolished.

In September, ground was broken for the Friends School addition, which will house three classrooms, a music room and a multipurpose room that will be used for gym classes and community meetings. The school is adjacent to the current Friends campus, which dates back to 1833.

Enrollment was expected to rise with the extra space, and it has already, said Joe Hohenstein, the clerk of the Frankford Friends meeting, a job equivalent to school board president.

The new building has been designed to use inexpensive techniques to keep energy use down, Silver O’Leary said.

For example, a large north-facing skylight in the multipurpose room will cut lighting costs. Solar shades will block sunshine in summer but bounce the light deeply into rooms during winter. Rain barrels will keep water out of the city’s storm water system and provide free water for the school’s classrooms and gardens. ••