Back to School: Patton MS gets extreme makeover

Staff puts final touches on school building in preparation for first day of school

By Suzanne Misciagna, Staff Writer, The Times


The completed renovated basketball court behind Charles F. Patton Middle School in Unionville is just of many projects undertaken — often with community group, PTO, student and parent assistance and support — to update and improve the school this summer.

EAST MARLBOROUGH – While students in the Unionville-Chadds Ford School District are enjoying the last lazy days of summer, Patton Middle School staff are busy putting the finishing touches on several projects undertaken this summer, in anticipation of Monday’s first day of classes in the district.

To say it has been a busy summer at Patton is putting it mildly. Vast improvements have been made to the school, both inside and out, in preparation for students walking through the doors for the new school year Monday.

“Our goal is to make Patton Middle School all about our students,” says Patton Middle School Principal, Tim Hoffman. “When you walk in a school, it should tell you what the school is about, reflecting the interests, passions, and work of the students,” Hoffman adds.

Creating this kind of space is exactly what the Patton Middle School staff set out to do this summer. But the challenges of working within a building built in the early 1970’s can be daunting.

First and foremost on the list was brightening the school’s interior spaces to counterbalance the school’s limited number of windows and crowded hallways.

This summer, the walls in the main hallways were painted a bright white color to lighten up the interior space. New ceiling tiles were installed throughout the school. A new lighting system was also installed with lights twice as bright as the previous lights but which require half the energy to operate. The new lighting and ceiling tiles have greatly improved the overall brightness of the classrooms.


Changes to the cafeteria at Patton Middle School give it more of a 1950s diner feel, now.

Another summer project – updating the Patton cafeteria.

“Our goal was to make this space about the kids – a living and breathing space that the kids help create,” says Hoffman.

During the last school year, students voted on a theme to adorn the walls of the school’s two lunch rooms. The verdict? A 1950’s diner theme complete with black and white checkered walls.

Hoffman describes the transformation of the school cafeteria as a “total team effort.” Patton Middle School students painted the walls along with Patton parents and members of the school’s Parent Teacher Organization (PTO). Patton’s custodial and grounds staff were also instrumental in bringing this transformation to life.

Students also had the chance to put their creative stamp outside the cafeteria. An array of student photographs depicting close ups of objects in and around the school are proudly displayed near the cafeteria entrance.

Throughout the building, interior walls have been painted purple and gold to reflect the Patton school colors. In addition, a new logo for the Patton Hawks has been created along with new spirit wear items for students to wear in support of their school.

Perhaps one of the most exciting changes for students is sure to be outdoors with the addition of a new outdoor basketball court.

“The new outdoor basketball court was designed to have a community park type of feel,” says Hoffman.

The court, sporting the Patton school colors and logo, also includes seating for players and spectators to enjoy. Money from one of the school’s major fundraisers and PTO donations was used to create this community space. The new basketball court will be available for school and community use.

The surrounding fields near the basketball court were updated with new signage numbering each field. The signage was donated by the Unionville Recreation Association. Many of these fields are used by the school as well as local sports organizations for baseball, lacrosse, and soccer. The new signage will make it easier for students and parents to locate the correct field for sports practices and games.

The landscaping around the school has also been updated with colorful bushes and flowers giving it a curb-friendly appeal.

The school’s vegetable gardens received some additional help too. A car port was installed in the front parking lot with solar panels to help power the school’s greenhouses. This is all part of the school’s Patton Project – a branch of the Family Consumer Science (FCS) Course offered to eighth grade students who volunteer their time in planting and maintaining garden beds and greenhouses throughout the Patton campus. The harvest is then collected and donated to the Chester County Food Bank along with some of the harvest being used in the school’s cafeteria. The school was able to obtain the new solar panels through the donation of a local vendor, Tri-M. This is all part of the school’s commitment to renewable energy and power.

Hoffman’s philosophy for Patton Middle School is simple – “Middle school students need to find a place of identity, a place of belonging.”

It looks like all of these projects were designed to do just that.

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  1. Pocopson Mom says:

    I am so excited to hear about these great renovations and thank you to the School Board for taking “green steps”! My kids are still a few years away from Patton but I am glad to know the Board is focused on making the existing facility as bright and conducive to learning as it can be. I think these are tax dollars well spent.
    I am a little concerned about the 926 bridge project and the impact that will have on PES (especially in light of the crazy Penn Dot roundabout delays in Pocopson). Is the School Board involved with the council to try to minimize the impact to buses/children of that construction? Seems to me that the detour over the Rte 52 bridge is acceptable but when they close Creek Road, that is going to create major problems for accessing the school. Is there any way to pressure the Council/Penn Dot to stipulate that the Creek Road closure happen over the summer (guess they can’t get it done in 3 months anyway…)?
    Keep up the good work!

    • Vic Dupuis says:

      Pocopson Mom;
      Thanks for the words of encouragement. I hope your children enjoy the new Middle School when they get there!

      With regards to the 926 Bridge, it’s really PennDot’s game in terms of the timing and logistics since it is a state-maintained road. We have and will continue to offer input with regards to the School District’s logistical challenges that will be created by the bridge closing when it occurs, but ultimately the timing will be decided by PennDot. I know Mrs. Wickersham, our Director of Transportation, is seeking input from a variety of sources as she considers the alternate routes for bus and parent traffic for the Pocopson and Middle/High School morning and afternoon runs. Regardless of how and when it happens, I think the catch phrase will be “Temporary inconvenience for permanent improvement”, along with a request for a little extra patience from everyone while the bridge is being rebuilt 🙂
      Vic Dupuis
      UCFSD Board President

  2. TE Resident says:

    🙂 Again, the only seething is by you. And you continue to accuse me of exactly what you are doing. You don’t live here, you don’t have kids in the school district (any school district) and you have no interests here or anywhere near here. But you still feel compelled to weigh in and I’m truly flattered that you follow me. Thank-you.

    I find it interesting that one question: Where do your tax dollars go, has created this backlash. Thank-you for proving my points by trying to make the issue about me instead of the issue at hand. Will there come a day when a tax paying citizen can ask a simple question without being name called, attacked or have character assassination as part of the equation.

    Congratulations to the students and parents in the U-CF school district. You are the reason for your success.

  3. TE Resident says:

    Open Eyes,

    I am Laughing out Loud right now. Thank-you for revealing your identity. I know exactly who you are. You just can’t help yourself. That’s O.K., some people just can’t let go. I welcome your comments, I welcome Keith’s comments and I welcome Vic’s comments. I find it amusing that you accuse me of doing the very same thing that you are doing.

    Reader’s, tax payers and citizens can decide for themselves, who “takes the high road” and who does not: who “snipes” at who and who does not: who uses fear and intimidation and name calling, and who does not.

    Tax paying citizens have a right to ask questions about how their tax dollars are spent. It’s a shame we have to spend time and energy on defending the right to do that. Asking questions should not be characterized as “sniping”, and citizens should be granted the respect and consideration that all segments are granted.

    Enjoy your retirement. It is my hope that one day you can let go and get involved in a life that gives you pleasure and enjoyment. As always, I wish you well.

    • Open Eyes says:

      Oh, how very wrong you are. But it is not the first time, is it?

      I have no problem questioning any taxing authority about how MY money is spent- I just really do not understand why you care about MY tax dollars.

      Not looking for answers or lectures- rather I would encourage you to seek solutions to problems with the way your own taxes are spent. When that is cleaned up – work on Harrisburg- where ALL of our taxes are misspent. Maybe you can highlight the pros and cons of the gubernatorial candidates…? That would actually be useful.

      Meanwhile, back in southern Chesco UCFSD is doing just fine. There is no angst among the residents (and yes, I am one) but 20 miles away you are in a tizzy. If anyone is need of better way to spend time it is you.

      I have lots going on this weekend so this will probably be my last visit until next week…and I will have to scroll through dozens of snarky responses. That’s okay. My kids go to the best schools in the state. I can take it.

      Good night. Happy seething.

  4. Open Eyes says:

    Oh boy. TE is back at it- attacking UCFSD from 15 or 20 miles away. What puzzles me most is why DO YOU CARE? As a parent and taxpayer (and we made the decision to move here BECAUSE of the schools), I am thrilled with the way MY tax dollars are spent. Maybe you can post your tax bill for TE schools here and I will start combing through YOUR district’s finances. I worked in a bank when I was in college and could probably find something interesting.

    On another note, Mr. Dupuis is to be commended for taking the high road, which is what we do here in UCFSD. I have not looked at this site for a while- busy summer – but today I was told that UHS is ranked #1 in the state- so I thought I would poke around. Did not take long to find snarky TE here, stirring the pot.

    Maybe your schools are all up-to-date and if so good for your students. As for us- rather than tear down a functional building tax dollars are being spent to improve a sound structure. It is financially savvy, green, and a success by all the standards WE care about. UHS is #1! WOW! That is news I am spreading far and wide. We pay our taxes gladly because they get us the very best education. Maybe TE is jealous?

    If you are only here because of Keith Knauss you must be retired or very bored. I cannot imagine having the time or energy to follow the goings on in TE.

    Mr. Dupuis, the whole school board, Dr. Sanville and all the principals, administrators, teachers, and everyone else who work so hard to keep our schools at the very top- THANK YOU.

  5. TE Resident says:

    Thanks Vic. But I’m not sniping, just because you label it sniping does not make it so. Tax payers have a right to know how their tax dollars are allocated. Thanks for letting us know. Maybe if you could cut down on your anger and intimidating tactics, that may encourage other citizens to get involved too.

    Also, I wouldn’t get involved on outside of my district involvement if it weren’t for Keith Knauss. He taught me that, so thanks to Keith for that. No one, (not even TE residents weigh in about issues in the TE district more than Keith, and we welcome his comments and I welcome yours Vic, no matter how angry.

    • Vic Dupuis says:

      No anger here…Just taking your comments at their face value. Your words make the allegation that only outside contributions impacted the new Middle School, and that the use and benefit of tax dollars in this school is a mystery. Our Supervisor of Buildings and Grounds has done a great job of communicating our long term facilities plan, and has provided regular updates on the status of this plan to keep district residents informed on this ongoing project. Perhaps if you had first checked on this information, available at the district website and in past articles on this website, you wouldn’t have felt the need to question the application of tax dollars here.

      As for your determination to replicate Mr. Knauss’ behavior, I guess if he jumped off a cliff you’d follow him there, too? Not sure why that’s what you’re using to justify your own decisions, but, whatever… 🙂
      Vic Dupuis
      UCF Board President

      • TE Resident says:


        I guess it’s any readers determination about your anger or lack of anger Again, I’m not “sniping” because I ask questions about how tax payer money is allocated, so your “taking my comments at face value”, as you say, is a complete misrepresentation of what I am doing.

        No, if Keith jumped off a bridge, I would not follow. And there again, another example of your anger, hostility and attack on a tax paying citizen.

  6. TE Resident says:

    Kudos to the:

    “Patten Middle School Students along with the parents and members of the PTO and the custodial staff were instrumental in bringing this to life.”

    “Students putting their creative stamp outside the cafeteria.”

    “Money from a school fund raiser and PTO donations for the community space.”

    “Signage donated by the Unionville Recreation Association.”

    “TRI-M donated the solar panels.”

    Where do your tax dollars go? Who benefits from that revenue source?

    • Vic Dupuis says:

      TE Resident:
      Once again sniping from the outside of the district. As our residents are already aware, well over $1 Million of their tax dollars have or soon will be going into extensive renovations and improvements to the Patton Middle School as well. Our teachers and students are enjoying renovated classrooms, upgraded lighting, and a new heating an air conditioning system, all funded by tax dollars and managed and maintained by our professional facilities and custodial staff. Who benefits from this resource? Our teachers, our students, our community.
      Vic Dupuis
      UCF Board President

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