Early Learning Center, School District of Springfield Township
Faced with an aging K-1 primary center originally built in 1948 and not in alignment with the District’s educational vision, and a 2-5 elementary school at capacity, the School District of Springfield Township addressed both problems with one solution by deciding to build a new Early Learning Center for grades K-2 on District-owned land. The proposed site, located at the intersection of a major Township artery linking the District schools and a prominent secondary road, is surrounded by a residential neighborhood. Zoned from private to public, the site positions play areas along the bordering roads in a way that maintains a park-like setting mirroring the adjacent Township park.
The building design further emphasizes the concept of the public and private zones and is configured to complement the existing grades. The main building entrance is adjacent to the administration area and anchors the interior street connection for public areas, such as the gymnasium and cafeteria. The interior street connection leads to the central core of the building, which features the media center and an educational focal point of the building: the learning stair. The private or educational areas of the facility can be secured to allow the public areas to be used after school hours.
The educational wings branch out from the central core of the building. The kindergarten wing is on the main floor level, with first grade on the floor above. Built into the grade of the site, the second-grade wing is located in a one-story portion of the building on the same level as the second-grade classrooms. Each grade level classroom wing is supported by a central large group instruction area for larger group activities. Every two classrooms share a small group instruction room facilitating individualized instruction on a day-to-day basis. The classroom wings embrace an exterior central courtyard that provides outdoor educational opportunities and features a green terraced amphitheater.
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- Work in Progress Citation | American School & University Architectural Portfolio 2017