Flexibility, opportunity, and enablement : an elementary school prototype : Bartholomew Consolidated School Corporation, Columbus, Indiana
The ultimate goal of this thesis was to find a learning environment which goes beyond today's typical elementary school with concern to flexibility, and adaptability, opportunity, and enablement. The process involved began with research of historical models which led to interpretations and beliefs required to establish a final design solution.American education is changing in many ways, some of them quite fundamental. The design of school buildings, furnishings, and equipment can facilitate or retard these changes. Presently, schools do not address current curriculum needs of personalization and opportunity due to organization and limiting school designs. Each elementary school student is an individual, therefore, requiring diversity in program methods and design. Old walls should not stifle new ideas.The program of this facility was to create a new elementary school/learning center for Columbus, Indiana located within the Bartholomew Consolidated School district. The intent was to enhance to learning environments and curriculum of the students as well as enhance the opportunities for the community. The school would become a resource to the members of the community for learning, recreation, and cultural events.The location of the new facility is at the existing W.D. Richards Elementary School site. The suburban park-like setting with rolling hills and trees created a stimulating environment for the educational needs of the children, staff, and the community members.The project methodology consisted of various design inquiries involving team teaching, flexibility, adaptability, organization, enablement, and opportunity. Testing and evaluation of existing facilities and design inquiries facilitated conclusions or beliefs about adaptability and flexibility. Therefore, the goal was the generation of an elementary school which will not become obsolete as other educational predecessors.Columbus' new elementary school/learning center consists of academic areas, community areas, and administrative areas. The academic areas are divided into "houses" to stimulate a family-like atmosphere within the learning environment. The community areas surround the administrative core and are utilized by the public and school children alike. The administrative areas, therefore, become the heart of the facility to allow for control, organization, and orientation.