Crandall ISD—Crandall High School Expansion
Architect: WRA Architects
A 43,000 SF classroom addition increasing the school’s total capacity from 900 to 1,350 students and a 3,000 SF cafetorium expansion with a new outdoor plaza and pre-function gathering space increasing the Performing Arts facilities. This expansion facilitates Next Generation learning with collaboration areas, large overhead glass doors, enhanced technology, flexible space, and flexible furniture. CTE facilities include Culinary Arts, Interior Design, and Medical Science spaces.
The District worked closely with the architect to design a concept that would project a professional collegiate atmosphere. The merging of secondary and career/college prep disciplines is transforming the District’s learning methods, and their intent is for the architecture to enhance the process, not be a hindrance. The varied spaces were driven by a commitment to foster student-teacher interaction and student group projects. The design is open, well lit, with ample power and data connections.
Value and economy prevailed 15 years ago in this school’s original Master Plan which included this expansion as designed, now completed at a minimal cost of $175/SF. Core elements of the campus were designed with capacity for this expansion and more. Connecting to existing building systems enabled a seamless expansion. Numerous cost-saving features include deep overhang over glass, shared-use multi-purpose spaces, daylight in every classroom, and durable, low-maintenance materials throughout.
The project is aggressively sustainable by reusing much of the existing building, adding only the minimal area to accommodate growth. Includes energy-efficient roof, HVAC, glass, vacancy sensors on lights, and other energy upgrades. Full height glass at the Cafetorium expansion is shaded by a deep overhang and provides ample daylight, reducing lighting loads. Multi-purpose spaces reduce square footage and energy consumption while enhancing collaboration and improving the learning environment.
Community relevance has been significantly upgraded by this project. The expanded Performing Arts areas accommodate more community participation, especially enjoyment of new outdoor pre-function space. The enlarged CTE department facilitating an expanded curriculum is helping students make career connections with the community and industry. The large Collaboration Area can function as shared community space fostering new interaction between students, their instructors, and the outside community.
Planning goals were set in several community meetings which included alumni from the school. Goals included accommodating expansion in the District’s CTE curriculum and enlarging the venue capacity for Performing Arts. The solution includes a large Collaboration Area, a new outdoor pre-function gathering space adjacent to the performance area for community events, and a new transparency between classrooms and the multi-purpose area, encouraging a freer exchange of ideas through group learning.
The merging of secondary and career/college prep disciplines is transforming the District’s learning methods, and the Program called for the architecture to enhance the process, not be a hindrance. The new facility supports an expanded, certificate-based CTE curriculum, helping students make career and college connections, and is already inspiring heightened student achievement. The new accommodations in the Performing Arts areas have boosted community participation in the life of the school.
Star of Distinction Category Winner