Project Advisory Teams for Madison and Jordan high schools participated in a two-day workshop last week to put together initial design concepts for the schools’ new 21st century campuses.The design workshop, known as a charrette, marks the threshold from the planning to design phase of the two building projects.
“I’m pleased with the progress of these charrettes,” said Kedrick Wright, HISD senior manager of facilities design. “The two project teams worked really well together, and we saw some great interaction. In fact, the principals from Madison and Jordan both indicated that they’d like to continue their collaboration beyond today’s workshop, so that’s a win for both schools.”
HISD uses the group design charrette format to bring two or more schools together in order to share feedback and different perspectives. The workshops also provide critical input to the architects, as they work through issues in two days that might otherwise take months to hash out.
As part of the district’s current bond program, both Madison and Jordan will receive new buildings. Plans for both schools include erecting the new building adjacent to the existing facility so that students can remain on campus during construction.
The Madison team considered several options for placement of the building on the site including a long rectangle shaped facility running perpendicular to West Orem, an “L” shaped building on the corner of the property, or a hybrid of the two but centered on the property facing West Orem. The team plans to incorporate CTE (career and technical education) neighborhoods with academic classroom space, and open up the areas with glass walls or large windows so students can view the activities in other CTE areas.
“I look at these plans and think of the people that will be drawn in to our school,” said Brenda Braziel, PAT member and teacher at Madison. “I love the transparency. I really think that our community is going to support this and that it will drive increased parental involvement.”
Barbara Jordan High School is transitioning into a regional CTE hub that will serve eight area schools in the district but will not provide academic classes. Students will complete academic coursework at their home school, and will train in hands-on career instruction at Jordan.
“You might have a math class on another campus, but when you get here you’ll get to put that knowledge into practice in a real world situation,” said John McAlpine, principal at Jordan.
The Jordan team stressed a desire to emphasize function over form. They leaned toward spaces that appear as real-world workplaces rather than generic classrooms. They are also looking at synergistic placement of CTE spaces by housing the transportation center in close proximity to the neighboring METRO facility, and the health sciences lab adjacent to the neighboring LBJ hospital.
“It’s nice to be involved in this process and to see how two different schools approach similar issues,” McAlpine said. “We want to focus on being good at what we do and offering a career path for students that will genuinely get them where they need to go.”