Highland Oaks Relief Middle School is undergoing a metamorphosis from a defunct 1970s-era K-Mart in North Miami. It will serve as a temporary educational facility while permanent schools are being restored or constructed. It is starting out as a middle school with 625 student stations; the flexible design later will accommodate a relief high school.
The school layout CAPACITY625COST PER SQ FT$99.59CITATIONWork in Progress CitationFEATURED IN2006 Architectural PortfolioSUB CATEGORYWork in Progress a typical mall, with stores replaced by their educational counterparts. For example, mall “anchor stores” are the student dining and physical-education areas. Computer labs, 3D and 2D art studios, classrooms, general science labs, the media center, CCTV studio and administrative suites correspond to the “specialty stores” throughout the mall. Much like the center court of a mall, the central stage will create a focal point of social activity for the school, serving as a performing-arts venue, casual teaching environment and place for student gathering. Plate-glass windows, typically found in a mall environment, allow visibility into 2D and 3D art studios, the media center and the CCTV studio from a wide corridor that diagonally traverses the space.
The vacant store provides open space, difficult to find within a built-out urban environment. Easily converted into classroom and support facilities, the space will be returned to the owner when the lifespan of the relief school is expended. The renovation of the vacant anchor space adds value to an asset previously considered obsolete.
"Exciting and economical use of an existing resource. Floor plan works and provides a fun environment for student interaction."--2006 jury