DLR Group Receives AIA CAE Award for Joplin Interim High School
DLR Group’s design for the Joplin (Mo.) Interim High School has been recognized by the American Institute of Architects, Committee on Architecture for Education (AIA CAE). The design team will accept the award at this year’s AIA Convention, Friday, May 18 in Washington, D.C.
AIA CAE Design Awards honor projects and ideas that exhibit innovation and excellence. Judges review the planning and design process; the integration of function and aesthetics; and the unique learning environment.
Jury members noted, “This is a successful adaptive reuse projected designed and implemented within unusual constraints and severe challenges. Despite the fact that the project schedule was extremely short, designers managed to create inspiring learning spaces within an abandoned big box retail store.”
JOPLIN INTERIM HIGH SCHOOL DESIGN
May 22, 2011, a tornado devastated Joplin, Missouri. On the ground for 13 miles, in 20 minutes it claimed 160 lives and caused $151 million in damage. Ten schools were damaged or destroyed and Joplin High School was a total loss.
Two days after the storm Joplin Schools Superintendent Dr. CJ Huff promised the school year would start as scheduled on August 17. To complete this feat, the district relied on DLR Group’s K-12 expertise, and local partner CGA Architects to design an interim high school for 1,200 students.
Within 24 hours of project kick-off, designers had created a 96,000 SF model of the existing building showing basic walls and doors for new construction. This model allowed the design team to study the 3D qualities of the space and provide the construction team the ability to understand the magnitude of materials required to complete the work. The 3D model was updated continuously to meet the 55 day design and construction team schedule.
Knowing that 1,200 students should need more than 200,000 SF, DLR Group’s design integrates every square inch of existing space and features 21st Century learning environments utilizing flexibility and interconnectivity.
Six small learning communities divide the larger student population into 200-student learning communities and offer a more intimate learning environment for students and staff. Small and large group collaboration areas with a variety of seating accommodate individual or group learning.
Large openings, over-sized pivot doors, and a diverse array of soft and structured furniture allow students to customize spaces to fit their personal preferences. An information technology support hub with a “genius bar” offers student a place to get tech support for their laptops.
Vibrant “Eagle” logos and graphics help give students a sense of pride and ownership in their high school. The space inspires students to move beyond the tragic events of the past and move forward with their fellow students in a space that is truly a healing and learning environment for students, faculty, and the community.
Joplin Interim High School has transformed the educational model for Joplin Schools. It also has drawn national attention. During a recent tour, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan commented the school is a model for the nation. Funded by a $1 million donation by the United Arab Emirates, Joplin Schools implemented the 1 to 1 laptop program in the interim high school. The 1 to 1 initiative, along with the innovative interim high school design, has moved Joplin Schools to 21st Century learning environments for its students.