The Lafayette School Corporation in Lafayette, Indiana was faced with a corporation-wide dilemma of aging facilities and increasing enrollment. The Tecumseh Junior High School Project is part of a 98-million-dollar corporation-wide expansion and upgrade project covering multiple buildings, made necessary due to the combination of aging facilities and increasing enrollment. Originally constructed in 1957, expanded in 1973 and again in 1994, Tecumseh Junior High School is one of the oldest, as well as one of the most heavily modified schools in the district. We faced the challenge of not only handling a 200-300 student increase in enrollment, but also dealing with aging infrastructure and overtaxed core spaces.
Keystone - Cordogan Clark provided facility assessment, programming, and design of new, renovated, and re-purposed spaces throughout the junior high school to transform the aging facility into a modern learning environment. The design incorporates input from a series of interviews the design team conducted with the administration and staff. The addition and renovations to the school greatly improve overall educational experience of the students. Lafayette School Corporation has a major initiative to support the Performing Arts at all their schools. Accordingly, this new addition features a much-improved facility, including classroom wing and practice rooms for Choir, Orchestra, and Band, for the Tecumseh Junior High students. The existing kitchen and cafeteria are extensively enlarged and remodeled, with large restrooms added near the main gymnasium and remodeled areas. Another important LSC initiative is the inclusion of Special Education classrooms in the mainstream academic areas of each school. Our design reflects this and unites the Special Ed classrooms on a central corridor system in the main academic wing. The new Special Ed classrooms feature natural light from large expanses of glazing, as well as independent and individual exits that open directly to the exterior, onto a large Outdoor Classroom specifically designed for their use. The exterior doors also allow these students, who can take more time than other students, to quickly and directly access their buses for transportation to and from the school. The Special Education classrooms include a teaching kitchen, restrooms, showers, and dedicated washer and dryer.
We performed departmental interviews, looked at scheduling and utilization, and examined the state of the existing spaces. Together with school administrators, we then jointly arrived at a design solution that prioritized departments and spaces with the greatest need. The result was a new 20,000 square foot addition for Performing Arts and Special Education. Spaces vacated by these departments were renovated into new classrooms to serve the increased enrollment, and a new cafeteria and servery, double the size of the existing. This design solution brought relief to long-overlooked parts of the school, while keeping new classrooms centrally located. The addition also provided a new face for Tecumseh and incorporates an outdoor classroom space that connects directly to all of the new special education spaces.