In an effort to provide a place for students to want to stay in school, this project converted an unsightly and dangerous alleyway between two existing buildings into a central public gathering space. This new school commons serves as a second cafeteria as well as a gathering space before and after high school basketball games. Designed to LEED Silver standards, this commons is the anchor to a project that also included daylit corridors, science labs, art and music classrooms, and mechanical system upgrades. The project’s energy-conscious approach resulted in a grant from Missouri’s Department of Natural Resources for roughly 10% of the construction cost.
The commons addition consists of a simple steel frame inserted into the alleyway and then wrapped with a clerestory window at its perimeter. A series of colored panels set in aluminum frames varies in density depending on the addition’s solar orientation, minimizing heat gain in the space while maximizing its daylighting capacity. The addition is then stitched to the two existing buildings on either side with a ribbon of white gypsum board. This approach allowed previously boarded window openings to be uncovered in order to borrow daylight from the new commons into the existing library.
New administrative offices are located adjacent to the new entrance with strategically located windows providing administrators with views of the entry for added security. Bold graphics identify key programmatic elements accessed from the space.
“I look forward to continuing the relationship with Dake Wells Architecture and would highly recommend this company for any capital and construction projects you may be considering.” -Geanine Bloch, Stoutland School Superintendent