The existing North Building, portions of which date back to 1899, was cramped and dark. In the cafeteria, circulation was difficult, and flooding was an ongoing problem. In the dated, heavily used Reber Center for the Performing Arts, the HVAC system was noisy and caused vibration.
The solution created agile spaces that are collaborative in nature. Both the CAPACITY1,490COST PER SQ FT$432.03 and auditorium are now multipurpose spaces that accommodate classes, after-school activities and community events.
The cafeteria was renovated and expanded with an addition that borrows space from the courtyard. The increased capacity enables the school to shorten the lunch schedule and provide more time in the classroom. A new underground drainage system eliminates water infiltration problems.
In the auditorium, the original orchestra pit built in the 1920s was exposed and put back in use. The aesthetics were modernized, acoustics were improved and the HVAC system was replaced.
Designed for today’s learners, the school now has Wi-Fi access throughout to accommodate the 1-to-1 student-computer ratio. The connectivity also makes both spaces suitable as testing centers for digital assessments such as the PARCC exam.
Multiple monitors in the classroom adjacent to the auditorium and throughout the cafeteria have a closed-circuit feed that can play live events being broadcast from the auditorium. The spaces now serve as overflow seating for popular performances or crowded events such as graduation.