Union Public Schools’ 8th Grade Center faced two challenges: a growing student body and a building that was constructed at a time when conventional wisdom said to use minimal windows. The interior was drab with dark tile on the floor and unappealing walls. Students, administrators and parents felt the school was unfriendly. Students even referred to it as CAPACITY1,200COST PER SQ FT$118.50FEATURED IN2007 Architectural PortfolioSUB CATEGORYRenovation “prison.”
The phase I expansion and renovations included new computer labs, a new media center, new and remodeled science classrooms, new administrative offices, and new corridor finishes in selected areas. Phase II of the project included new interior finishes in all existing classrooms and corridors, expansion of the commons area, and a new soccer building with a locker room, concessions area and public restrooms.
The old building had been designed to hold about 850 students. The new facility is home to more than 1,200 students—none of whom think anymore that the Union 8th Grade Center feels like a prison.