A+ Work! – Chasse Modernizes Arizona Schools
By Alison Bailin Batz
While in-person instruction in schools amid COVID-19 has been a tough subject as of late, there is some good news on Arizona's education front. Many institutions have been investing – and continue to invest – in critical updates to their buildings and facilities. Here is a look at one recently completed campus and one currently undergoing an impressive update:
Dove Mountain CSTEM K-8 School
The first of its kind in Arizona, this new school features a creative and specialized academic experience in an innovative 21st-century learning environment designed to give students the experience, knowledge, and skills they need to become lifelong learners and responsible citizens. Students will experience rigorous Computer Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (CSTEM) academics and learning tools. Every class exposes students to practical hands-on lessons, which have direct relevance to real-world challenges.
Dove Mountain CSTEM K-8 School
Students will engage in exploratory, creative, hands-on learning from mobile devices, zSpace AR/VR, and Science Labs to makerspaces and outdoor learning areas. The utilization of the zSpace lab is an exciting opportunity for students. This combination of Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality with subject-level content that engages students is truly a game-changer for education. The origination of the zSpace product was utilized in medical schools, and its K-12 product is specific to students’ changing needs to ensure greater success today and in the future.
“This unique school building design is a celebration of student-driven learning and making," says Leigh-Anne Harrison, of CHASSE Building Team. CHASSE worked with Marana School District, Corgan Architecture & Design, Comfort Systems, P&M Drywall, J.B. Steel, K2 Electric, and Sun Valley Masonry.
Large, highly visible and collaborative makerspaces line the heart, or the arroyo, of the building, fostering student awareness of the work being done by their peers. Classrooms have direct access to exterior outdoor learning areas, which allows students direct, relevant learning opportunities. “This site-responsive building acts as a teaching tool as it highlights the natural ecosystems and respecting the natural landscape,” says Harrison.
CHASSE utilized the LEAN construction process on the project, a production method to reduce costs, material, time, and effort. It incorporated cutting-edge, energy-saving techniques into the project.
Hohokam Elementary School
“Hohokam Elementary School was originally constructed in 1959 and designed by renowned architect Ralph Haver,” says Vicente Terán of CHASSE Building Team, who are presently working with the Scottsdale Unified School District and SPS+ Architects on the build.
Hohokam Elementary School at Night
According to Modern Phoenix’s CHASSE Building Team archive, the sloped roofline, beamed ceilings, and ribbon windows are typical hallmarks of his preferred building style, echoing what he did with local single-family homes as well.
“Not only are Haver designs beloved, but many people who still live in the community once attended Hohokam themselves, so they were personally invested in anything that might happen with the school, especially a modernization,” says Darlene Cadman of SPS+ Architects.
As a result, before any plans were even developed to modernize, the team hosted public meetings to determine the best path forward. Stakeholders and the building team decided that the small schoolhouse buildings and courtyard spaces would stay, preserving the property's historical importance, as would the lush greenery that has been growing proudly in the area for the past seven decades.
“One area that we certainly needed to address was the administration building and cafeteria, as well as indoor and outdoor physical education and recreation space," says Cadman. She worked with CHASSE on a paperless 3D model of the school and its potential new plans versus putting pen to paper to save time, expenses, and impact on the environment.
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This article originally appeared in the bimonthly Arizona Contractor & Community magazine, Sept/Oct 2020 issue, Vol. 9, No. 5.