2009 Exhibition of School Planning and Architecture. Swiftwater Elementary Center. Swiftwater , Pennsylvania Project of Distinction Elementary School Gilbert Architects Inc. Swiftwater Elementary Center. Cafetorium.
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2009 Exhibition of School Planning and Architecture Swiftwater Elementary Center Swiftwater, Pennsylvania Project of Distinction Elementary School Gilbert Architects Inc.
Cafetorium Community Environment: The cafetorium serves as both a cafeteria, which can be divided into two spaces to provide flexibility for multiple activities and as a performance area with stage. Music and art classrooms back up to the stage for easy access for rehearsals and stage related productions.
Entrance Atrium Community Environment: To monitor visitors entering and leaving the building during school hours, the secured main entrance vestibule directs visitors into the administration reception area before entering the school. The light filled entrance atrium separates the classroom “cabins” to the left from the communal spaces to the right. The media center is located at the far end of the atrium.
Media Center Learning Environment: The media center includes a laptop computer area, reading areas with comfortable age-appropriate furniture, a story area, workroom and circulation desk.
Core Space Learning Environment: This multi-functional core area, centrally located on each floor of the classroom wing, can be used as one large area for group activities or divided into four classrooms with sliding partitions to accommodate changes in enrollment.
Rear of Building Physical Environment – Learning “houses” on the right, community “public “ spaces on the left. The courtyard created by the separation of the two segments of the school serves a an outdoor teaching area and social gathering space for school and community functions.
Design Concepts This large 1200 student (expandable to 1400) elementary school promotes smaller learning communities by grouping each grade level (K-5) into a house, or more appropriately “a cabin”, as it relates to the regional context of the school’s location in the resort area of the Pocono Mountains. Shared communal spaces, i.e. the library, gyms, cafetorium, art and music areas, are separated from the classroom cabins. Wayfinding graphic symbols help children navigate the building. Graphic images of a rabbit, deer, fox, owl, eagle or bear identify the entrances into each of the cabins with the classroom signage of that cabin depicting the same.
Site Considerations Planning Process: Adjacent to the district’s East Campus, the elementary school driveway connects to the campus drive. The completion of this school allows grade levels to be realigned on the campus to relieve overcrowding at the other three schools in order to adequately serve grades K-12 for the District’s Eastern Division. Built into a sloped site, the building is surrounded by tiered play areas, stormwater detention basins, parking and circulation paths that separate the bus and parent drop-off areas, as well as the service areas to the rear of the school.
Computer Lab Learning Environment: Each classroom has a LCD projector and a promethean board for instruction and the building has wireless capabilities throughout. Computer labs are hard wired with Category 6. Voice over internet protocol (VoIP) technology is provided in each classroom for access to administration and outside phone lines.
Science Classroom Learning Environment: Flexibility and economics have been built into the science labs by providing shared prep rooms and sliding partitions between labs.