Programming efforts involving HSE administrators, building-level principals and faculty, and the Design Team resulted in the development of a two-story, K-4 elementary school with five learning neighborhoods, an administrative area, shared activity area, gymnasium, dining commons, discovery center, kitchen, and building support spaces.
Each learning neighborhood has six studios (classrooms), and a shared activity commons that is large enough for the entire neighborhood to gather and is easily accessible from each studio. Each neighborhood also has a small lab/kitchenette, three small group rooms, and two sets of student restrooms. Each studio has adequate space for multiple learning centers.
Adjacent to the learning neighborhoods are the instructional spaces for art and music, the language lab/resource studio, and the self-contained learning studio. The close proximity between the neighborhoods and the enrichment areas provides the possibility of a flex classroom should a grade level size fluctuate and need an additional classroom.
The music lab is located adjacent to the dining commons where there is a raised platform for performances.
The most central point in the building is the Discovery Center and support spaces. A large, two story volume open area for book stacks accounts for the majority of the space.
Hamilton Southeastern Schools conducted a community study and determined that rather than building a third high school to meet the needs of their growing community, they would build advanced learning center academies at each campus to accommodate an additional 1,000 students.
CSO was selected to work with stakeholders to explore the requirements of a learning center that would meet their academic needs while taking into consideration what teaching and learning looks like at institutions of higher education and centers of innovative learning. CSO worked with educational experts to gather stakeholder input around the tenets of 21st Century School Design and developed design concepts that met the required scope and quality for the project. Design documents and detailed renderings were developed for both high schools and were critical in the passing of the May 2013 referendum. After the referendum was passed, CSO used the detailed design documents to develop the design criteria package that allowed the school corporation to issue an RFP for design-build teams. CSO stayed on the project through construction as owner’s representative.
In addition to expanding each high school’s capacity by 1,000 students, the academies also reflect the most innovative design for teaching and learning with accessible space for early college classes that provide actual college credits for high school students. Additions are 2-stories and reflect the qualities of 21st Century Design with copious daylight, transparency in learning spaces, ubiquitous technology, and flexible learning spaces that are sized for small and large group gatherings. Teachers do not “own” their classroom space but have an office space available, similar to the arrangements in higher education. A Student Learning Commons, adjacent to the student café, has technology tables and opportunities for small group collaboration. A large, open science lab serves all disciplines and art labs open to one another, creating a free flowing creative environment.
A key to the success of the project was fulfilling the educational priorities for the facility while also ensuring maximum effectiveness, efficiency, and safety. HSE’s growth prompted the district to build a new 7th & 8th grade junior high to accommodate 1,110 students.
The building was sited so that athletic fields are separated from vehicular drives, and parent drop off and pick up is separated from bus and delivery truck access. Common use areas are isolated from academic areas, to allow them to be used in the evening without enabling public access to classrooms. The academic wing has two floors to provide for separation of grade levels and all rooms are equipped with state-of-the-art presentation technology. The Energy Star Certified building makes extensive use of natural day lighting and is designed for optimum energy efficiency. The building embodies the district’s mission of becoming a world-class school system.