Secondary school, shopping mall, community center : location, Muncie, Indiana

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Ferrier, Cinda
Meyer, Bruce F. (Bruce Frederick), 1946-
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Thesis (B. Arch.)
College of Architecture and Planning
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This project combines a secondary school with a community center and a shopping mall. The three units are interrelated and draw support and meaning from the activities in the adjoining areas.About 54% of all high school graduates go on to college or higher levels of training. Of the rest only a fifth will have been equipped by trade and industrial courses to work at a craft or a white collar job. An occupational commitment should be implicit in every students secondary school program and all technical vocational programs need to incorporate relevant part-time work experience. Many adults in the community lack job skills or have skills that are obsolete. These adults need to be familiar with the types of training that are available.By combining a shopping mall with the school, the public is drawn into the complex for reasons other than formal learning. The shopping public can see activities such as the wood, metal,and machine shops, art studios, the library, science labs and study areas. These areas are interesting and show the varied activities in the school. Glass partitions separate the school from the mall to reduce shoplifting and as a means of controlling student access to the mall.The community center-has a double function. It provides the community with a meeting place and a sports center. It also functions as the school gyms, pool, gathering area and auditorium. The auditorium divides into smaller sections to accommodate groups of 50 to 200 students. This releases teacher time for helping with independent or small group study.It is difficult for students to identify with their school when is becomes very large. It has been suggested that by dividing the school into clusters individuals will become an active part of the smaller groups of students. The school is divided into units, or clusters, which accommodate four to eight of the traditional classroom areas. Each cluster will have moveable partitions and furniture where needed. The large number of students in each cluster necessitate two means of emergency exit. Each cluster opens into the interior hall and directly to the exterior.School programs are not static, they mutate to reflect the conditions of society. Schools must be sufficiently flexible to accommodate program changes. To allow use of various parts of the building while allowing others to be locked, the facility can be separated with moving partitions. The mall, center, and school can each be used separately. For evening classes one, two or three clusters of the school and the library can be opened with the option of being combined with the large lecture areas in the community center.Vandalism is a major and growing problem in today's schools. The most serious aspect of vandalism is the set of messages it conveys: that students look upon the school as alien territory, hostile to their ambitions and hopes; that the education which the system is attempting to provide lacks meaningfullness; that students feel no pride in the edifices in which they spend most of their days. This design incorporates several features with the purpose of counteracting such attitudes.The school complex allows for more student interaction during the day than traditional schools. The class areas are not jail-like cubicles lining a hail, but are clusters of interacting class areas, which allows students to view other areas of learning, yet allows for control of the learning situations by the teachers. The students will also be using the facility while they are not in school which will help reduce their dislike of the facility and its role in their lives. They will use the mall for shopping, the recreational facilities for sports and the grounds for outdoor sports and recreation when not attending school.The site is surrounded by heavily used roads, which pose a danger to the many students walkingto school and the park. To alleviate the problem of crossing pedestrian and vehicular paths a pedestrian bridge is provided for the main body of walking students. Students walking from the west cross the White River on a bridge that is also connected to downtown Muncie by a boardwalk.The undeveloped site is one of the few left in downtown Muncie. Since a large portion of the site is used for parking and for the structure, the park area has been enlarged by sinking the structure into the ground and mounding earth around it and on parts of the roof. Conservation of fuel and economy of heating and cooling is another principal objective for the use of mounded earth around the building.