Mission Possible: LCHS Renovation Design Revealed
Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to design a new high school for Lake County. A high school that has the best of everything, but doesn’t cost too much and stays in budget. A renovated high school, that will also have a middle school addition. A high school that can remain open while it’s being built, but doesn’t interfere with the process of education. A high school that blends into Lake County’s natural environment, but also celebrates Leadville’s unique mining heritage. A high school that can be an educational institution to re-ignite that Panther Pride, but also prepares students for the 21st century!
A tall order? Think it can be done?
Well, for those in attendance at the most recent Lake County High School (LCHS) Design Charrette, the answer was an unusually quiet, head-nodding yes. So, it’s Mission POSSIBLE for Lake County High School (LCHS)!
Last Tuesday, April 9 Chad Novak and Kent Freed from H+L Architecture and Chris Guarino with Consilium Partners (Owner Representative), presented the new LCHS design to a crowd of 25 school administrators, teachers board members parents and community members.
For those readers who were not able to attend, here’s a 10 minute video of the LCHS renovation design reveal.
Last November, local residents voted Yes on a local school bond issue that, in conjunction with a BEST grant, created the $26 million renovation and addition project for Lake County High School. Since then, everyone’s been leaning on the fast forward button to keep the project on schedule. So far, so good.
In fact, to see the progress that the project’s designer – H+L Architecture – along with the local Design Advisory Committee (DAG) had made in the 8 weeks since the mid-February community meeting was impressive. Members of the DAG comprise of community members, local tradespeople with construction knowledge, and students. Their time commitment is admirable as they continue to volunteer/work with the school district, owner’s representative, and design team to provide input into the vision and design of the project.LCHS Principal Jamie Jeffery addresses the audience during the first Design Charrette meeting in February. The project will break ground June 1, 2013.
Back at the February Design Charrette meeting, attendees shared ideas and concerns for the renovation and addition project from safety and necessary instructional upgrades, to maintaining that old LCHS feel, while representing the new change.
During this process the two primary concerns seemed to be how to build the renovation and addition while keeping the high school open and avoid any workers interfacing with students. And secondly, how can you build a middle school addition at the same location, yet minimize student population interaction, so that 7th graders aren’t bumping up against seniors in high school. Oh, and by the way, they’ll be sharing the same cafeteria and gym.LCHS students review design ideas at the February Design Charrette. Community input was incorporated into the concept which was revealed April 9.
In addition, attendees at the February meeting participated in an exercise that involved expressing “thumbs up/thumbs down” to various images flashed on the screen by the project’s design team. This exercise allowed H+L to develop a concept based on those reactions. As the initial Design Charrette concluded, leaving the design team with a lot of feedback to sift through, a tight timeline and strict budget, it was clear that the challenge was sizable.
But H+L’s reputation showed up last Tuesday night as they revealed not only a beautiful renovation concept equipped to educate 21st century students, but one that also celebrates Leadville’s natural environment and history. Oh, and they were even able to address that “ice-rink” issue at the school’s main entrance.
To wrap your head around the new design, it’s probably best to imagine yourself standing in the middle of the high school football field, facing north, towards the high school. Picture the wood shop/auto mechanics area, which will be transformed into the library/commons area. Now spread out your arms side to side. Your right arm – to the east – will be the new high school classroom area. It’ll be a double stacked wing, that will include up-to-date science labs and wireless connection throughout, making every area a learning environment. Your left arm, on the other side, is the middle school, a single-story wing to house 7th and 8th graders.Lake County High School Renovation and Addition Design Sketch. H+L Architecture
The gym and auditorium will remain in place along with most of the administrative offices, with some adjustments to the main entrance. The current northern, 2-story classroom wing will continue to educate students during the renovation. But once the new additions are built, that section of LCHS will be removed. Bye-bye glaring afternoon light, making it difficult to read the chalk boards. Bye-bye outdated mechanical systems which would have been too costly to upgrade. Bye-bye asbestos.
Of course, as the building morphs into its new shape and design, so will its surroundings. The main change outside is traffic flow. The new design shifts bus pick up and drop off from the north to the west side of the high school. The parent drop off and pick up will remain off Washington Street but reconfigured in a safer flow. Parking for LCHS teachers, staff and students will be consolidated into one area, presently referred to as student parking lot.
The project is still slated to break ground June 1, 2013, that’s seven weeks from tdoay! Stay tuned for future updates and notification of various opportunities the project intends to provide for the local community.