JOHNSON AND TIOGA ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS
The Johnson and Tioga Replacement Elementary Schools grew out of the district’s desire to consolidate its four schools into two facilities responsive to the needs of 21st-century education. To do so while complying with funding restrictions, the district closed remotely situated Mohawk School and created a 80,000-square-foot addition for the existing 34,000-square-foot Johnson School, which welcomed students from the closed facility. The district also closed and demolished Chippewa School and created an addition to the existing Tioga School, which was slated for demolition, leaving an entirely new 122,400-square-foot building on the Tioga site.
The exciting new replacement schools reflect the close work between STR, the district, and the public to define educational goals and programs and then arrive at a responsive design that appeal to all parties. Committed to modern learning environments, the district emphasized its philosophy of school as a community of learners and its need for team teaching, peer tutoring, hands-on technology, collaboration, and project-based and informal learning.
STR engaged the community in creating the buildings’ bright, child-friendly, and welcoming aesthetic. Three variations of exterior visual treatments were presented to local residents, who selected a scheme of white brick with accent-color glass windows. STR developed the scheme as the prototype look for both schools, with the gleaming white buildings creating a unified, modern, and open campus. Mondrian-like color accents in windows and exterior pavement happily define scale and identity, which are reinforced by the use of color in cheery interior furnishings, walls, and floors. The result is a happy, vibrant learning environment.
STR met district goals through the creation of flexible spaces to accommodate differentiated instruction. The schools feature learning communities with student commons, classrooms paired with flex rooms, outdoor instructional space, general classrooms, and an innovation lab. Other essentials include “contemplation” areas for informal instruction, gymnasium, cafeteria, administration area, community room, library/media center, two music classrooms, art classroom, three pre-kindergarten classrooms, outdoor instructional spaces, an amphitheater, and a bus loop and auto drop/pick-up. The transition between the renovated school and new addition at Johnson is seamless, and the entirely new school at Tioga creates site efficiencies and safety.
The 21st-century demands for sustainability were met through consolidation, reduction in heat island, efficient building envelope, energy-recovery systems, construction waste management, interior thermal comfort, enhanced acoustical performance, certified wood, and recycled materials.