International school in Texas converts office buildings into preK-12 facility Shepley Bulfinch

International school in Texas converts office buildings into preK-12 facility

The Awty International School, a college preparatory pre-K through 12th grade international day school in Houston, is renovating three former office buildings totaling 75,000 square feet and sited on five and a quarter acres. The project is slated for completion by fall 2017.

The Awty International School offers a college preparatory curriculum with a strong emphasis on the study of a second language to fluency and a multicultural perspective. The new early learning campus will provide learning and enrichment facilities for 345 children in pre-K (ages three and four), kindergarten, and first grade. The early learning school will include 25 interactive classrooms, two multi-purpose rooms, art and music rooms, a gymnasium, teaching kitchen, library, media room, and dining facilities for students and faculty.

More than 20,000 square feet of outdoor play space will feature contoured terrain with a tricycle path running under bridges and play equipment, two playgrounds, a soccer field, student gardens, basketball and play courts. The master plan also provides for outdoor classrooms and flexible learning spaces. The classrooms are focused around the outdoor play space and a tree-lined, European style boulevard and plaza with benches and pavers.

The three buildings are currently being gutted and renovated for the school’s needs, and a portion of one building will be demolished to construct a new two-story multipurpose gym including climbing wall and theater stage. Two thirds of the existing parking lot will be covered with synthetic turf for the outdoor play space, with the remainder left for visitor parking. The buildings’ will be clad with vertical perforated multi-colored translucent panels to add color and playfulness to its existing brick façade. The outdoor classrooms use the same panels for roofing in a shingled pattern. A key component to planning the campus was vehicular circulation and campus security, design allowed for appropriate carpool stacking to reduce neighborhood traffic and provided controlled campus access with security fencing, check-in points, and separate entries and circulation for carpool drop-off, visitors, and faculty.

The architect is Shepley Bulfinch.

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