Pair of intrepid CTA education projects receive Learning By Design Awards

By: Travis Estvold
28 October 2016

Two CTA education projects were selected by Learning By Design for “Outstanding Project” awards, and included in the magazine’s Fall 2016 Awards of Excellence issue.

“Our work on both projects included renovation and expansion of existing facilities, though the schools differ quite a lot from one another,” CTA education market leader Corey Johnson said. “In both cases, while closely monitoring budgets, the design teams worked closely with administrators, faculty, and even students to create learning environments that simultaneously capture the spirit of the existing schools while packing them with the latest in forward-thinking design and furnishing options.”

CTA_post_LearningByDesign_Fall2016_WestValleySchoolWest Valley School; Kalispell, MT

West Valley, a rural K-8 school in Kalispell, Montana, has undergone a dramatic metamorphosis with new and renovated future-flexible spaces. The new West Valley School features a reimagined entry commons, a second practice gym, a library, a music room, a kitchen, 15 additional classrooms, and a district kitchen. Because every new space is highly adaptable, this is a school of the future, to be sure.

With classroom-width hallways bisecting the learning spaces, the new rooms are highly convertible: sliding and rolling overhead doors made of laminated glass and seals to maintain acoustics, perform like walls when they’re closed, but when open they allow for unprecedented utilization of rooms and tiered thoroughfares as co-teaching space, lunchroom, or indoor ampitheater.

Moreover, selected furniture is light and on wheels and can be easily reassembled into individual, small group, or large group configurations.

Distinctly bright and unique colors adorn classroom walls and help with wayfinding, especially on your first day of school.

CTA_post_LearningByDesign_Fall2016_McKinleyElementaryMcKinley Elementary School; Billings, MT

Imagine a school that is not only the pride of the community, but its identity. This is McKinley Elementary — a historic school, originally built in 1906. This renovation and expansion went beyond adding classrooms and restoring iconic masonry. Squeaky wood floors were refinished and old radiators left in place for charm (while a high-efficiency heating and cooling system replaced an ailing steam boiler), and the iconic fire escape was retained. Classrooms were added and floor layouts reorganized. Bathrooms are now found on each floor.

The addition is nearly as large as the original structure and while capacity was doubled, outdoor play space was preserved (as the existing one-story annex was demolished). For the first time, McKinley is fully accessible — with the addition of an elevator and a special education classroom (with its own bathroom and shower).

At the ribbon cutting, designers, educators, and builders stood among four generations of families who attended this school and all appreciated, with pride, that McKinley will be here for many generations.

See the entire digital issue by clicking here!


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