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.
Over the last several years the administration at Southwest Allen County Schools (SACS) began to dream about making major changes at Homestead High School (HHS). Primarily a single story building, students struggled to travel from one side to another during passing periods and there were few spaces able to facilitate informal student interactions or collaborative group work.
CSO was brought on board with local architect MKM and educational consultant Brain Spaces to begin programming and planning for the future Homestead. Extensive meetings with students, staff, parents, and community members quickly revealed immense support for changes at the high school and a desire for the building to better represent and support the students who walked its hallways. The design team collaborated to maximize the amount of new space to be constructed while leveraging portions of the existing facility to reach the desired program requirements.
The resultant design will include a new two story academic wing, large student commons, 3,000 seat completion gym, and 990 seat performing arts center. Nearly 400,000 sf will be added on to the existing high school before razing roughly 350,000 sf of existing structure. The remaining 300,000 sf will be extensively renovated ensure the ‘new’ building has the same look, feel, and function throughout.
Completing a project of this scale while keeping the existing building operational during construction will be a complex task requiring continued coordination between SACS, HHS, the design team, and the construction manager. The phased addition, renovation, and demolition is set to occur from July 2020 through December 2024. Once complete Homestead High School will finally have space to educate students for generations to come.