4Community Environment: Springfield School District’s community engagement process for the literacy program started long before planning began for the new facility. A description of this project would be that it is a successful educational program in search of a supportive environment. The educational program was the vision of school board member Doug Carney. Doug’s son could not read proficiently at the completion of fourth grade. Finding this unacceptable, Doug decided to be a part of the solution and became a board member. Based on data indicating that achieving literacy proficiency during primary grades improves lifelong learning skills, Doug, with the consensus of the board, challenged the district administrators and educators to meet a goal of 100% proficiency in literacy by completion of fourth grade. The district developed a curriculum that included an individual literacy plan for each student. The curriculum was implemented in The program achieved sustained success. In 2005 the district achieved 99.2% literacy proficiency.The curriculum had been implemented for many years in the district’s existing double loaded corridor elementary schools. The Springfield community has been very supportive of the district because of the results of this program, and there has been an increase in enrollment from young families moving into the area. This growth in enrollment created an opportunity to plan and design a new facility that would uniquely support the Literacy program for grades K-1. The goals for this new facility were:Use every penny of investment and every inch of development to support the literacy program.Create a learning environment that will be the Jewel of the community.Create a strong link between the outdoor and indoor learning environments.Create outdoor learning environments tied to the natural environment that could be enjoyed and utilized by the community.
5Learning Environment: Springfield School District developed a “mass customization” model of literacy education tailored to provide the level of education needed for each student. Each student is tested as they enter the school system to determine their level of literacy proficiency and their learning style. Based upon this information, the district developed an individual literacy program (ILP) for each student. These ILPs required spaces for specialized activities such as: undistracted short or long duration one on one instruction, collaborative small group instruction in traditional environment, collaborative small group instruction in varietal environments, etc.The design response for the new Literacy Center is singularly focused on enhancing literacy instruction and providing spaces to support the ILPs. Students approach the building through the front porch, which doubles as a covered outdoor classroom. Students are encouraged to write on the slate chalkboard or on the sidewalk to experience the different tactile surfaces and to display their progress as visitors approach the building. Rain chains convey stormwater from the roof to a bioswale to provide an educational experience during a rainy day. The traditional lobby is replaced by the library so that students and visitors are immediately immersed into the literacy program.
6Learning Environment Continued: The kindergarten and first grade classroom wings are separated and are located around a grove of natural trees. They are in a single-loaded arrangement in order to maximize the connection to the natural environment and to maximize the educational function of the circulation space as an extension of the classroom environment for collaborative instruction. A series of flexible, small group instruction spaces are located between classrooms. These are separated from the main classroom by sliding barn doors that include writing surfaces, as well as windows that allow a teacher to monitor students, while providing individualized instruction. Based upon the Tennessee STAR study, the District established a policy reducing class size in first grade. The goal is a maximum of 15 students per classroom.Diverse student learning styles are supported through non-traditional learning elements such as the extended classrooms, the tree house classroom, the outdoor amphitheater, the green roof classroom, and the front porch. Play is incorporated into the literacy curriculum via the alphabet walk and carefully selected play equipment.
7Physical Environment: The 51,000-square-foot facility includes 6 kindergarten classrooms, 18 first grade classrooms, 3 special education classrooms, an intervention space, collaborative learning environments, a library, a multipurpose room, a kitchen, large group instruction spaces, a “front porch”/outdoor classroom, a green roof/outdoor classroom, a tree house classroom, an alphabet walk, and an outdoor amphitheater.The Literacy Center shares a 25.1 acre site with the district’s existing middle school and athletic fields. The site is an oasis of nature in the midst of a densely developed suburb. The design team used transparency to enhance the visual link with this natural environment and to blur the lines that traditionally divide teaching and learning spaces. The entire site and building are designed to support literacy education, and these spaces are on display through the use of transparency.The design solution provides maximum flexibility by incorporating folding glass partitions that link classrooms with collaborative learning spaces. Small group instruction spaces between each first grade classroom support the literacy intervention curriculum. Sliding barn doors allow a teacher to monitor students, while providing individualized instruction. This level of flexibility was originally problematic during the pursuit of LEED certification. The design team believed that the prerequisite was too prescriptive in defining a closed classroom for education and worked with USGBC to develop an alternative path for the LEED for Schools prerequisite EQ 3 related to classroom acoustics. The alternative path provided a solution for schools that desire a flexible learning environment.
8Physical Environment Continued: Springfield School District mandated that the building design support its literacy program, provide a healthy indoor environment, and reduce energy consumption. These goals served as guidelines during the design process, and as a result, the project is seeking a LEED Gold rating from the USGBC.The design response was driven by analysis of data throughout the process. The following analysis informed the development: day lighting to evaluate shading and the effects of glazing; the building shell to identify thermal properties of different construction materials and systems; and natural ventilation to determine the best placement of fenestration. Implementing building information modeling helped to inform the design team during analysis. Appropriate orientation was crucial to maximize the views and day lighting, while designing for optimum natural ventilation. The mechanical system consists of geothermal wells that are used to heat and cool the building. Combining the geothermal system with heat pumps that are positioned in the building optimizes the efficiency and reduces the operational costs of the facility.
9Planning Process:Three groups were charged with working with the architects to develop the educational program and the design for the new Springfield Literacy Center. These were as follows:The Facilities Committee. This committee consisted of two school board members and approximately 15 community leaders that had practical construction related experience. This committee met monthly to review and discuss any facility related items to ensure that the district’s educational and financial goals were being met. Upon invitation, the design team and district administrators would attend this meeting to discuss the Literacy Center project. This group made recommendations to the school board concerning facility issues.The Literacy Center Core Group. This group consisted of district administrators and educators. They were responsible for the development of the literacy curriculum and worked with the design team during the development of the educational doctrine report and facility design. Meetings were held as needed to ensure that the design would support the educational vision. During the design, a full scale mock up of the classroom, intervention, and collaborative learning spaces was constructed. Faculty members were invited to tour the mock up and to make comments and suggestions for improvement.
10Planning Process Continued: K-1 Community Group. This group consisted of parents and community members who were interested in taking part in the Literacy Center design. The design team facilitated the meetings, and 22 community members participated. During the first meeting, the group defined nine focus points for the design team:Library is the hubCommunity focusOpportunity to speak, read, and writePlaces for hands-on learningUsing informationEcologyStorytellingTechnology and multi-mediaPlay as opportunity for learningParticipants divided into subgroups to further define these focus points and to convey the ideas to the design team.Subsequent meetings were held during the design process to ensure that the intent was incorporated.
12Upper Level Floor plan First Grade Extended instructional environment / collaborative learningSpecial EducationGreen roof / outdoor classroomSmall group instruction / literacy interventionRoof belowOpen to below
13Lower Level Floor plan First Grade Extended instructional environment / collaborative learningSpecial EducationWork roomMEPExisting Middle SchoolSmall group instruction / literacy interventionTree house classroom
14Classroom Detail Floor plan Extended instructional environment / collaborative learningExtended instructional environment / collaborative learningRecycling centerSliding Glass DoorMarker board / movable partitionSliding barn door with writing surface and windowsClassroomClassroomSmall group instruction / literacy intervention
15Exhibition of School Planning and Architecture 2010 Project Data Submitting Firm :Burt HillProject RolePlanning, Architecture, EngineeringProject ContactRob PillarTitlePrincipalAddress101. E. Diamond Street, 400 Morgan CenterCity, State or Province, CountryButler, PAPhoneJoint Partner Firm:NoneProject RoleProject ContactTitleAddressCity, State or Province, CountryPhoneOther Firm:NoneProject RoleProject ContactTitleAddressCity, State or Province, CountryPhoneConstruction Firm:E. P GuidiProject RoleGeneral Contractor (Single Prime)Project ContactJack MannkeTitleAddress1301 South Bethlehem PikeCity, State or Province, CountryAmbler, PAPhone
16Exhibition of School Planning and Architecture 2010 Project Details Project Name Springfield Literacy CenterCitySpringfield StatePennsylvania District NameSpringfield School District Supt/PresidentDr. James Capolupo Occupancy DateMay 2010 Grades HousedK-1 Capacity (Students) 350 (Note: K is half day so the capacity is 350 at one time but 475 total)Site Size (acres) 25.1 acres (Shared with the District’s Middle School)Gross Area (sq. ft.) 51,000Per Occupant (pupil) 145 SF/ Pupilgross/net please indicate gross (note: some program for the literacy center is housed in the connected and adjacent Middle School)Design and Build? NoIf yes, Total Cost:Includes:If no,Site Development: $5,120,000Building Construction: $13,801,500Fixed Equipment: $375,000Other:Total: $19,296,500
17The driving vision is displayed at the building entry porch/outdoor classroom. The Green roof classroom provides an alternative learning environment supporting variety, connection to nature, and environmental stewardship.The Library takes the place of a lobby and is the first interior space experienced by students and visitors.
18Play is incorporated into the literacy curriculum via the alphabet walk and carefully selected play equipment.Rain chains convey stormwater from the roof to a bioswale to provide an educational experience.
19Transparency is used to blur the lines between interior and exterior educational space to make a strong link with the natural environment allowing natural light and views to the interior spaces.
20The classroom extends into the single-loaded circulation system to maximize educational utilization. The separation is transparent to allow the teacher to monitor activity. Small group instruction areas are located between classrooms for literacy intervention. They are separated by sliding barn doors.
21The tree house classroom promotes discovery as students are able to experience the tree canopy overlooking a natural gorge. It also supports differentiated instruction for students who require variety.