Leading Up to the Design Process
Developing architectural designs that fit the needs of Ladue Schools students in the short and the long term is a long, involved and evolutionary process. At the very beginning of the process, we seek to thoroughly understand our current buildings — their advantages, their limitations, the life expectancy of major systems and the topography on which they lie.
Another vital early step is getting extensive input from those who spend time in the current buildings on a regular basis to determine what educational needs are being fulfilled and which are not. To do this, Programming Teams were pulled together for the three schools which are anticipated to need the greatest amount of renovation: Old Bonhomme Elementary School, Spoede Elementary School and Ladue Middle School. These teams consist of administrators, teachers from each discipline and parents who are active in the school.
Four rounds of workshops were completed by these Programming Teams prior to the architects initiating the formal design process. The goals of these workshops, as well as the presentation decks used to guide the discussions, are listed below. The evolution from “big ideas and dreaming” to pragmatic, affordable solutions will be evident when chronologically reviewing these documents. That being said, these designs, nor the associated estimated costs for design and construction, are far from being finalized.
Please note that no specific designs or timing for these improvements have been determined. Those decisions will be made by the Board of Education over the coming months and will be based on our ability to get back to “normal” school schedules following the pandemic, the ability to engage in meaningful dialogue with the Ladue Schools community about these needs, and the economy.
Programming Team Workshops – Round One. On Feb. 25, 2020, all three Programming Teams met as one to discuss the goals of this series of workshops. Immediately following this introductory meeting, the two elementary schools and the middle school met separately to begin their individual work, which included: developing guiding principals, defining “Future Ready Schools,” activity mapping and identifying the types of areas to be designed.
- Workshop 1A – Introduction (all three schools)
- Workshop 1B – Old Bonhomme and Spoede Elementary Schools
- Workshop 1B – Ladue Middle School
Programming Team Workshops – Round Two. On March 11 and 12, the three groups met separately to review their work from the previous workshop for accuracy and completeness and to diagram the ideal relationships between spaces.
- Workshop 2 – Old Bonhomme Elementary School
- Workshop 2 – Spoede Elementary School
- Workshop 2 – Ladue Middle School
Programming Team Workshops – Round Three. On April 3 and 6, the three groups met separately (and virtually) to see the work they had completed in Round Two translated into rough drawings indicating possible placement for various areas and size relationships. The groups provided feedback to the architects so that they could then move to even more specific designs.
- Workshop 3 – Old Bonhomme Elementary School
- Workshop 3 – Spoede Elementary School
- Workshop 3 – Ladue Middle School
On July 1, 2020, the architectural team presented the Schematic Designs reflected in this document for approval before moving onto the Design Development phase of the design process. In this document you will find the existing conditions, the proposed site plans, overall building plans and classroom configurations, color and material palettes, and aerial views of the designs for Old Bonhomme Elementary School, Spoede Elementary School and Ladue Middle School.
Shown above: Renderings of the Ladue Middle School collaborative space on the second floor and the new Old Bonhomme Elementary gymnasium.
The next, and significantly more detailed, phase of design is known as Design Development. In this phase, the architectural team gets very specific in terms of the size of various spaces, the materials to be used, and the infrastructure required to support the facility. As this phase progresses, the architectural team works very closely with the construction management firm so that cost estimates can also be refined.
At the virtual community meetings held Oct. 5 – 13, the current designs were shared in order to demonstrate potential solutions to the issues identified at the district’s four K-4 elementary schools and Ladue Middle School and to allow participants to share their feedback. A video of the presentation can be viewed in the Community Participations section of this website.
To see the details of the layouts within this presentation, please click on the links below. For optimal viewing, download the pdf file and view in Adobe Reader.
One of our requirements when selecting the architectural and construction management firms for these projects was that they have extensive experience in working on and in educational settings. This was not only because they would have experience designing and building for the intended functionality of the spaces, but because they would also be accustomed to developing plans for construction that allow the educational process to continue safely and effectively. In addition, and as we learned when renovating our high school, existing space can be used creatively to keep from having the expense or inconvenience of temporary classrooms (trailers) and our design and construction teams will assist us in developing those logistical plans, as well.
S.M. Wilson, our construction management firm, has developed this Preliminary Phasing Schedule to illustrate how the Old Bonhomme, Spoede and middle school projects would be approached, including which portions can be done while school is in session and which parts will need to be completed during summer break and other times when students are not on the campus. These plans are now being expanded into more specific schedules which will be added to this section as soon as they are available.
General Features to be Incorporated
Following is a list of characteristics and features that are being considered and incorporated as these designs take shape.
- Classrooms designed to accommodate today’s educational best practices which require spaces conducive to collaboration: small group work; the integrated use of science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM); and the opportunity for students to apply their knowledge in real-world applications and group-based projects
- Flexible science classrooms at the middle school with lab and lecture capability, which also have the ability to incorporate technology and engineering components into educational programming
- Technology and furniture which facilitate flexible use of each classroom
Safety and Security
- Expansion of safety and security features with minimized entrances and exits; continuous, clear sight lines; and safeguards for visitor entry
- Upgrades to meet all current codes, including full use and accessibility for students, staff and visitors with disabilities
- Clear and intuitive way-finding
- Ability to close part of the building to visitors, while leaving other areas accessible
- Improved ability for supervision by staff and administrators
- Seismic improvements in all renovated and rebuilt areas
- Focus on sustainable design of all mechanical systems and recycling of materials resulting from demolition
- Energy efficient and easily controlled HVAC system capable of adjusting to varying loads within the building
- Adjustable, automated and more energy-efficient lighting
- Better delineation and configuration of parking, vehicular traffic flow and pedestrian traffic flow
- Note: It was estimated that the renovation of the high school would decrease utility expenses by 25%. Initial analyses indicate the savings to be closer to 32%.