Four elementary schools within Birmingham Public Schools had substantial disparity relating to their educational appropriateness and amenities. Upgrades were necessary to achieve equitable opportunities for all students, but stakeholders agreed that the unique character and personality of each school needed to be preserved.
The architect assisted the district in 1997 CAPACITY2,800COST PER SQ FT$114.00FEATURED IN2008 Architectural PortfolioSUB CATEGORYRenovation master-planning studies for replacement or remodeling of the four schools. Media center additions were done as Phase I initiatives at the schools. In 2003, the district passed another proposal to complete the master plan. To complement the prior additions, the schools were “replaced” around their existing media centers. A financial analysis determined that the replacement option saved the district more than $1 million compared with remodeling alternatives.
To maintain equity, the architect developed a “kit of parts” to define and standardize program ingredients, both for size and amenities. The next task involved manipulating the kit of parts at each school to create unique learning environments for children.
These projects helped redefine Birmingham School’s elementary program. The final products are four elementary schools that have equitable ingredients and amenities, all with distinct personalities that reinforce the legacy and traditions of the original schools.