Lancaster ISD—Obama Ninth Grade Center Conversion-Renovation
Architect: WRA Architects
Major renovation to convert a 30-year old elementary school into a modern learning environment for 21st Century high school freshmen. The makeover provides a stimulating collegiate atmosphere that helps students transition from middle school to high school to college and career. The old Cafetorium was transformed into a new Commons to be a central connector to all major areas of the school. Large glass overhead doors facilitate spontaneous collaboration and more interaction between students.
Major conversion of a 30-year old elementary school into a modern 21st Century Ninth Grade Center. The iconic, but dated, barrel-vaulted main entrance has been replaced with contemporary forms, a more secure entrance, and a wide canopy-covered plaza. The old Cafetorium was transformed into a central Commons adjacent to most major areas in the school. The new school now exhibits a collegiate atmosphere. Large glass overhead doors facilitate spontaneous collaboration and foster more interaction.
Completed at only $83/SF, an aggressively cost-conscious vision drove redeeming substantial components of the existing facility. Cosmetic and mechanical upgrades brought new life to an old edifice. Scope included new main entrance, new security vestibule, enlarged Reception Area, renovations throughout, accessibility, and mechanical-electrical upgrades. Energy-efficient mechanical systems, glazing, and low-maintenance materials were used throughout to improve the building’s operating costs.
Designed by LEED AP architects with many Sustainable Design features. The most sustainable building possible is the reuse of an older building, and 100% of this project was alterations to the existing building. Shared-use spaces and outdoor plazas open to public use. Lighting replaced throughout with energy-efficient fixtures and vacancy sensors to reduce electricity consumption. Reused almost new high efficiency RTUs from previous campus. Native plants adapted to climate minimize irrigation.
The project enabled the campus to increase its services to the nearby community with new facilities for Consumer Science and Special Education. Shared-use interior spaces and outdoor activity plazas are open to public community use. Renovations include the Library and CTE spaces. The 30-year old main entrance was renovated into a more secure entrance and vestibule and a wide canopy-covered outdoor plaza. The larger Reception Area now allows visual monitoring of people approaching the building.
District and campus officials worked closely with the architect to examine ways to transform a 30-year old elementary school into a modern learning environment for 21st Century high school freshmen. A major planning goal was to design a solution that could be safely constructed on the campus with school in session. Another planning goal was to fill in the old, sunken, tiered Cafetorium to make a central connector to the school, which led to the new Commons with ample power and data throughout.
The primary design challenge was to transform an old facility designed for educating elementary aged students into a modern learning environment for the 21st Century high school freshman. The newly modernized school with its collegiate feel helps students transition from middle school to high school to college and career. Renovations included the main entrance, a new security vestibule with improved views of the entrance, accessibility, other renovations, and mechanical-electrical upgrades.
Star of Distinction Category Winner