Construction Zone: Adaptive Reuse

June 1, 2007
Lake Highland Preparatory School; Hamilton College; Dame School and more.

New convert

The former North Park Baptist Church in Orlando, Fla., has been revitalized to function as a middle school for Lake Highland Preparatory School's Charles Clayton campus.

The architect retained the church's facade, which has been a community landmark since 1960, while thoroughly updating and refurbishing the property. The school is designed to serve 400 students with 17 classrooms, four science rooms, two computer labs, a media center, a wood-floor gymnasium, locker rooms and an art room. The former sanctuary now provides auditorium seating for about 750 people for lectures, music and drama productions, and student gatherings.

The architect for this project is RLF, Inc. (Winter Park, Fla.)

Academics to athletics

The English Collegiate building at Hamilton College, Clinton, N.Y., previously known as Saunders Hall, most recently was home to the chemistry department. The building underwent major alterations and renovations for its adaptive reuse as a fitness center and focal point of student life.

Since The Charlean & Wayland Blood Fitness & Dance Center opened in September 2006, “the sounds of bubbling test tubes have been replaced by the whir of elliptical machines,” says David Thompson, athletics director.

The architect converted a previously enclosed courtyard into a three-story atrium, with a 40-foot-high climbing wall rising from the basement level and a dramatic glass curtainwall that looks out over the athletic fields.

The fitness center includes resistance- and weight-training machines, equipment for aerobic/cardio training, free weights, a dance studio, a juice bar, locker facilities and faculty offices for the athletic department. One weightroom is used primarily for varsity athletics.

The center is the third completed element in the master plan for the college's athletic and recreational programs. A sports medicine facility and a new squash center already are in use.

The architect for this project is Butler Rogers Baskett (New York City).

Start: September 2005

Completion: September 2006

Project area: 29,000 sq. ft.

Cost: $6.9 million

Warehouse conversion

Goodwill Industries of Central Indiana opened its first charter school, the Indianapolis Metropolitan Career Academy, in 2004 with 120 students. It now is adding space to the school by retrofitting warehouse space. The project will transform an industrial manufacturing and packing area into new classrooms; create a large, new courtyard garden; and add a gym and theater building. The academies will be able to accommodate 500 students.

The retrofitted design reflects the school's belief that every child learns differently. The facility will feature separate school communities, each capable of serving 130 students. Each school has eight classrooms — two for each grade level — so students have the same teacher all four years.

The new classroom space will feature high ceilings, exposed ductwork and bright paint. Skylights will provide abundant natural light. Desks, chairs and some of the walls will be on wheels for flexibility. Wireless connectivity will provide learning flexibility, and teachers will be able to customize their classroom spaces with conference-style tables and couches. The school space will occupy 70,000 square feet.

The architect for this project is Axis Architecture (Indianapolis).

Rebounding from retail

Highland Oaks Relief Middle/High School, Miami, is a conversion of a defunct 1970s-era K-Mart into a temporary education facility that can support the needs of more than 600 students while a permanent school is being restored or rebuilt. It delivers open space, and can be converted easily into adaptable classrooms and support facilities.

Designed to start out as a middle school, this facility later will serve as a relief high school. As a bonus, the renovation and reuse of vacant anchor space provides economic benefits to the remaining tenants by driving new traffic to the property.

The primary architect is Brown & Brown Architects (Miami). The architect/engineer is BRPH Architects-Engineers, Inc. (West Palm Beach, Fla.)

Office environment

Dame School, Medford, Mass., was built in 1908. When Tufts University purchased the building for conversion into division offices, the building had been unoccupied for years and had fallen into disrepair.

The building's original function was an elementary school, and its infrastructure was unworkable as a flexible open office environment. The architect decided to gut the interior and install a new steel structure.

Shoring was placed on the exterior walls while the interior was torn out. The floor levels were reset to create accessible entrances and taller ceiling heights. New windows were cut for additional light.

The architect for this project is Goldman Rein-dorf Architects (Newton, Mass.).

Past and present

Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, Mass., needed to reconfigure the design of Mead Residence Hall to make more efficient use of its space. Each residence hall on campus originally had its own dining area, but when campus dining was centralized several years ago, the five-story residence hall was left with unused space. The original 1901 design also featured maids' quarters, which had been boarded off and unused for decades.

The college used a design-build approach. The architect worked to match millwork details and to make the new and renovated spaces look as if they always had been there.

The dining area was converted to additional bedrooms and a small continental breakfast area. The former maids' quarters were renovated to provide 10 additional beds. Comfortable common areas were created, and a two-room suite was built on the first floor, adding several beds. New finishes, electrical wiring, plumbing, fixtures and fire alarms were designed into the facility. Bathrooms on each floor were redesigned, enlarged and modernized.

The architect is Cutler Design, Inc. (Worcester, Mass.)

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