Size: 130,000 SF
Cost: $21 million including soft costs
Objective: Expand capacity of student enrollment to 800 students, grades 5-8
Major additions and renovations to the Coelho Middle School transformed a traditional junior high school with interior courtyards and a double loaded corridor classroom wing into an enlarged facility with a striking, yet easily monitored entry lobby, an expanded centralized library, and a classroom wing of clustered flexible classrooms for team teaching. New HVAC, plumbing, fire protection, lighting, and technology was provided for the entire building.
Most striking of Coelho's many design features are the circular volumes of the main gathering spaces: an Administration Wing, with curved walls at the conference rooms and administration desk at one end of the entry lobby; a Grand Stair rotunda at the far end of the entry lobby, which both connects the classrooms clusters to each other and to the core spaces; a new Media/Technology Center, with views to both the outdoors and the main circulation spines, infills the structure of the formerly under-utilized interior courtyards; a Cafeteria addition, which is topped by an exposed king pin truss and highlighted by wall sconces and a dramatic flooring pattern.
The classroom addition transformed the existing double loaded corridor into clustered teaching spaces. Each cluster features a dedicated science lab, general classrooms with state-of-the-art lighting and individual HVAC controls, small conference rooms, a central commons space for impromptu gatherings, and toilet facilities. The renovation of the classroom wing created the opportunity for a new façade at the street elevation, which gestures to the scale of the neighboring community of houses with its own "house-like" façades.
The substantial site redesign involved the reorientation of the main entry from the east to the west side of facility for improved traffic flow and separation of parent pickup and drop-off from the bus lanes. By relocating staff parking to the rear school entry, paving along the main façade of the school was eliminated to create green space between the building and the street. Improved visual monitoring of all building entrances was a natural outcome of the design modifications.
Challenges included matching new structure to old, working with existing low floor to ceiling heights in the older sections, a restricted budget, a prolonged timeframe that necessitated revisions to meet a changed building code, an inflationary construction economy, and, finally, an accelerated construction schedule.
* Work completed as Project Architect at HKT Architects Inc, 1997-2004