Creativity, collaboration, and technology…Designing for the next generation.
Edmond, Oklahoma’s growth as a city is reflected in the large numbers of students crowding the halls of its elementary and middle schools. The completion of Heartland Middle School is a significant step toward easing this overcrowding. Master planned for 1,200 students in grades 6-8, the facility shares its site with the existing Frontier Elementary, and the design merges both into an aesthetically pleasing campus atmosphere.
FSB’s architects and engineers first held workshops to gain insights from everyone who will be using the school, including administrators, teachers, coaches, janitorial staff and others, to create a single unified vision. From those meetings, the team created a two-story design which includes a student commons, student collaboration areas and a unique “learning stair” which provides both assembly and presentation spaces. A dynamic media center contains computer labs, a robotics lab and other interactive technology. Spaces and classrooms are open, and all furniture is mobile, so teachers and students can rearrange groups to accommodate a wide variety of activities and events.
A competition gymnasium designed for indoor sports and use as a general community area features an acoustical metal deck supported by open web steel joists. A practice gymnasium also is available for student activities. This second gym is reinforced and doubles as a safe room which can accommodate the entire student body in case of a weather or security emergency. Multiple classrooms are constructed to meet safe room standards as well. The campus grounds feature an educational courtyard, outdoor amphitheater, competition baseball and softball fields, and practice amenities for track, football and tennis.
Construction on the school was coordinated so as to not interfere with operation of its neighbor, Frontier Elementary. Necessary adjacent construction was performed during the summer months and during spring break, to avoid blocking student and parent access during the regular school year.
Working with school and city officials, FSB staff also expedited a redesign of the school’s sanitary sewers, after it was determined that hookups needed to be changed from Oklahoma City to City of Edmond utility lines. This modification was done quickly; again working with all parties, so that it would not impact the school’s scheduled opening date. Finally, a number of adjustments were made to the interior fittings, such as the use of stainless steel handrails in place of more expensive aluminum, in order to keep costs down. In addition, the use of low-flow plumbing fixtures, LEED-approved lighting, occupancy sensors and additional blown-in insulation will lower operational costs once the building is in use.