Walden Middle School

Walden Middle School

KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI

  • Park Hill School District
  • New Construction
  • 114,500 SF
  • $34.4 million

2021 A4LE John Shaw Award Recipient

Visual connectivity and strategically designed collaborative spaces have led to an evolution of learning styles at this newly combined middle school. 

Driving up to the building, you immediately feel the sense of space and pride created by Walden Middle School. Exterior signage and artwork can be illuminated with interchangeable colors to celebrate special occasions and holidays. The space was designed and built to give students access to outside daylight, while also ensuring safety and security as well as the durability of the building. This feeling of openness and transparent connectivity has attributed to the lack of bullying, according to the principal. Lockdown features also can be activated at the push of a button, securing 75 percent of the building.

In addition, the three academic wings are flexible and include operable walls, allowing for customization and collaboration throughout. The wings are connected by the gallery-like commons, where students’ work can be showcased, as well as the media center. The green building is the first LEED V4 certified school building in the region and demonstrates how the design played a crucial role in extending the building’s life cycle while incorporating impactful and sustainable features.

Learnscape-Raytown Quality Schools

LEARNSCAPE 2019

  • Raytown Quality Schools
  • New Trails Early Learning Center & Three Trails Preschool

Nestled between an early childhood center as well as an elementary school, our emerging professionals had to navigate designing for a variety of ages, from 3-11 years old.

The 2019 Learnscape takes students on a “journey” of experiential learning. Designated areas of grasslands, desert, lagoon, forest and a bird’s nest prompt learning about nature and the types of animals that inhabit each climate. The design team of emerging professionals put themselves in the perspective of young learners and used their imagination to develop an outdoor learning environment where students can play and learn.
An impressive shade structure is the anchor of the Learnscape, providing protection from direct sunlight and casting unique shadows. It was constructed of cedar to ensure increased durability, and stone planters can be found at the base, providing a natural boundary for the group teaching area. Sensory tables give students an outlet to refine their fine motor skills and participate in hands-on learning. The tables can be incorporated into curriculum and teachers can demonstrate activities or can be used for free play. The “forest” was designed so students can weave in and out of the “trees.” Designed from the perspective of a young child, the poles bow inward toward the top, giving the wondrous illusion of being surrounded by treetops when they gaze at the sky.

Chillicothe Elementary School

CHILLICOTHE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL

CHILLICOTHE, MISSOURI

  • Chillicothe R-II School District
  • New Construction
  • 60,000 SF
  • $13.9 Million

The community’s youngest learners thrive in their updated, interactive space.

Infants through first graders are excited to be in one, new building that encourages students to connect with the natural environment around them. Interior design and environmental graphics make this space come alive and encourage these little learners to imagine. It also helps these little learners to understand what a space’s purpose is without traditional wayfinding signage that they wouldn’t be able to read. The various learning environments include large instruction, small group and one-on-one.

The rural community of Chillicothe, Missouri, is committed to making big changes for their students. This new elementary school is just the first step in the District’s plan to get all their elementary school students in one new building and all their students on one campus around their high school.

Liberty High School Performing Arts Center

LIBERTY HIGH SCHOOL Performing Arts Center

LIBERTY, MISSOURI

  • Liberty Public Schools
  • Addition
  • 43,000 SF
  • $16.5 million

The new performing arts space boasts unique elements contributing to the full performance experience, down to the technical and behind-the-scenes details.

As a district who places a strong emphasis on the importance of arts in education, Liberty Public Schools sought to improve its fine arts facilities at Liberty High School as part of the 2018 district bond passage. The addition of the new state-of-the-art Performing Arts Center brings many opportunities for students, featuring an expansive two-tiered auditorium, flexible band, orchestra and choir rooms, a scene shop, drama classroom, individual rehearsal spaces and an event entrance for performance attendees. All of the spaces were designed to be multi-use to maximize the building’s utilization.

Inspired by spaces such as the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, the nearly 800-seat addition is comparable to that of a performance space found on a college campus. Securely connected to the high school, students now have a professional setting to hone their talents. Acoustically accurate architectural details support students in achieving their full creative potential.

Learnscape-Shawnee Mission School District

LEARNSCAPE 2018

  • Shawnee Mission School District
  • Sunflower Elementary School

An immersive outdoors experience is at Sunflower Elementary School’s students fingertips, with hands-on learning happening everywhere.

Hollis + Miller embarked on a Learnscape journey with SMSD and its students to create an outdoor classroom supporting the students’ desires and the district’s sustainability goals. As part of the process, the students identified their highest priorities for the district, which included incorporating school gardens and natural areas.
The completed space encourages students to discover the natural environment by interacting with the area in different ways. Students can study water conservation benefits by utilizing the on-site cistern as they tend to planter boxes created for each grade level to learn about lifecycles and ecology. A solar panel on the roof of a large, covered deck gives students an up-close connection to alternative energy sources. Even the area’s signage doubles as a musical instrument, teaching students about the physics of sound.

Van Horn High School

VAN HORN HIGH SCHOOL

INDEPENDENCE, MISSOURI

  • Independence School District
  • Addition + Remodel
  • 42,000 SF
  • $17 million

The addition posed the opportunity to create an enhanced sense of place, identity and pride for Van Horn’s students, staff and community.

Walking into the new addition, you’re welcomed by the Hall of Champions, showcasing the rich Van Horn history with team trophies, medals and plaques. A new competition gym elevates the Falcon fan and athlete experience, while also providing enhanced locker room facilities for athletes. New indoor/outdoor concessions and restrooms for indoor sporting events and soccer games are arranged with the hope to provide future infrastructure to bring varsity football games back to campus. A large mezzanine accommodates standing room spectators and dually functions as a practice space for wrestlers, cheerleaders and more.

Beyond athletics, the new addition includes a culinary arts kitchen, a metals workshop and full-service athletic training room, with accompanying classrooms to support those hands-on learning labs. These 21st century equipped spaces demonstrate the District’s commitment to the Independence Careers Academies.

Formerly disconnected from the building itself, the woodshop was brought back into the building by demolishing an existing structure and renovating a former storage space. In addition to the woodshop, six science labs were remodeled.

Learnscape-Grain Valley School District

LEARNSCAPE 2017

  • Grain Valley School District
  • Grain Valley High School

Located on a wooded site just South of Grain Valley High School, the concept was to produce and reveal a sense of coexistence among people, nature and technology.

Through design sessions with Grain Valley students and faculty, the idea to create a dominate walkway of varying heights linking learning spaces of diverse sizes took shape. A layer of technology was added to the site, paradoxically, to aid in the experience of the natural site. The major building materials were purposely kept simple – limestone gravel for the path, Cor-ten steel for the major horizontal and vertical elements, and cedar lumber for the deck. Keeping with our concept, the natural environment will slowly change the steel from grey to a dark red as it rusts, while just the opposite will happen to the cedar. It will slowly change from its natural reddish hue to steel grey over time. These materials speak to the ever-changing natural world. The path links several backdrops for education, including a gathering space for 20-30 students and staff, a collaboration space for smaller groups, a garden space to facilitate biological and botanical curriculum, and an observation area away from the noise of civilization meant to be a more quiet and contemplative space for individuals.

Summit Trail Middle School

Summit Trail Middle School

OLATHE, KANSAS

  • Olathe Public Schools
  • New Construction
  • 140,000 SF
  • $31 million

Learning has no bounds at the new Summit Trail Middle School.

In order to accommodate their growing student population, Olathe Public School’s needed a 10th middle school. Adapted from their most recently completed middle school, Summit Trail provides a familiar and functional space while pushing the boundaries of customized learning.

Open corridors blur the line of circulation and usable space. Located in each learning pod are “genius bars” with fully integrated technology for small group collaboration. Glazing provides transparency from classrooms to common spaces, encouraging breakout participation. Moveable furniture elevates the learning environment by providing students and teachers the flexibility to customize their space at any given moment.

Blue Springs High School

A strategic blend of acoustical features, architectural elements and environmental graphics emulates school pride throughout every detail of the new addition at Blue Springs High School.

Continue reading