The Sports Leadership and Management (SLAM!) Charter School, completed August 2013, is a 134,000 square-foot, seven-story middle/high public charter school in the Little Havana section of Miami. SLAM! Academy is designed to serve approximately 1,000 students. The facility is located on a corner site and in close proximity to the recently completed Miami Marlins ASSOCIATED FIRMAlejandro Ramos R.A. ArchitectsCAPACITY980COST PER SQ FT$112.00FEATURED IN2014 Architectural Portfolio stadium.
The school’s urban locale influences the manner in which the structure addresses its street frontages and reinforces the southeast corner of the site. The building’s program includes instructional rooms, labs, administrative areas, a cafeteria, and a regulation-size gymnasium located on the top floor. The building also includes a more than 100-space parking garage that is located within the building envelope, concealed from street view. The main façade is composed of a gridded arrangement of large windows towards the east and west sides, and, conversely, a denser façade towards the secondary street on the south, with a pronounced gap that reinforces the building’s main entrance.
The school serves a predominantly low-income community and provides its students with a vibrant urban location and panoramic views of the city beyond. Natural light dominates the instructional spaces and the gymnasium on the 7th floor provides views of the city’s skyline to the east and the baseball stadium to the west.
The gymnasium has become the social center of the “vertical campus,” a public room of sorts that provides a place for the school’s physical education offerings while allowing its students to experience the city in a unique and powerful manner. Many students walk or ride public transit to and from the school and, as such, participate in the urban life of the city, enriching their educational experience beyond that offered by the school’s unique academic program.