The new middle school for the city of Lincoln Park, Mich., is the result of more than a decade of need. In 1984, the city’s junior high school was decommissioned and taken out of service, with no facility able to replace it. Since that time, a gradual and steady overcrowding developed in the city’s elementary schools, and the district observed an equally ASSOCIATED FIRM COST PER SQ FT$72.36FEATURED IN1999 Educational InteriorsINTERIOR CATEGORYLibraries/Media Centers erosion in enrollment.
From the first stages of program development, a tight budget was established. The school facility would be required to accommodate 1,200 seventh- and eighth-grade students in 160,000 square feet. The bond issue allocated $13.5 million for the middle school. The architect realized from the beginning of concept development that the project would have to be constructed for $84 per square foot.
The design solution was based on the district’s team-teaching program. The middle-school structure realized its final form as eight identical classroom pods revolving around a central hub. That hub is comprised of the administration functions on the first floor and the two-story media center. Each pod was designed to have immediate adjacency to the media center with its technology lab and media lab, and each pod has its own classroom space extending virtually into the media center.
The solution for the Lincoln Park Middle School incorporated materials of quality appearance that would exhibit a service life appropriate for the expected life of the facility. With this design statement, the structure’s final form incorporated some 158,926 square feet at a cost of $72.36 per square foot (including site improvements). The project was built at $2 million under budget.
The focus on technology in education is reflected in the centralization of the media center in the plan layout. All functions, including administration, literally revolved around this space. The media center blends the traditional library functions with computer labs, tech labs and special-education spaces, drawing each teaching pod into its visual realm and functional influence. The central, open octagonal atrium space of the media center features a large skylight, which brings natural daylight into the heart of media center activities and serves as a focal point for the entire school plan.
Photographer: ©Robert Deipert