The list of needs at North Junior High felt overwhelming to district leaders who desired to find a way to expand their learning environments, address safety and security concerns, improve air quality and make it all work in the 60-year-old building.
IIW Minnesota designed a two-story addition to the south side of the school that gave way to 17 classrooms and new restrooms on two levels, an expanded cafeteria, improved transportation areas and a new heating and ventilation system, among other necessities.
First Time Connections
The design plan allowed for the first time in the school’s history, the second floors of the east and west portions of the building are connected and any student can access music areas on the east side.
IIW Minnesota enabled the school to significantly improve internal school circulation and accessibility by connecting the new second floor corridor to the existing second floor corridors in the west part of the building and adding a new elevator that can accommodate students “scooters.”
The cafeteria has been both expanded and reconfigured to improve the dining experience for students and staff. The new serving area design reduces lines and student wait times. This lengthen student’s lunch times and improved the overall dining experience.
The cafeteria’s new serving area integrates new serving equipment and an additional serving line. The removal of two nearby encroached classrooms on the south side of the cafeteria also provided space for additional seating and the bonus installation of a new glass wall that features exterior views and natural daylight.
During the expansion, school leaders also looked to IIW Minnesota to help create a safe and secure entrance.
Previously, visitors would “buzz in” at two separate doors and be admitted by the school administrative staff pressing a buzzer that released the lock on the door. While visitors were seen on camera before they entered, there was no way for staff to ensure they came to the office to sign in nor could staff monitor their movements once they entered the school.
The new design transformed a classroom next to the current administration space in a secure welcome area where all visitors must enter into the office and sign in before they are admitted into the rest of the school. This change also allowed the school to add needed office and conference room space. At the same time, IIW Minnesota worked with team to further enhance safety by creating a new bus chute that separated bus traffic from parent pick-up and drop-off traffic. School staff now can easily monitor both types of traffic flow. A visitor parking lot on the south side of the school adjacent to a busy roadway also was relocated to the east side of the property where neighborhood traffic is less congested.
Comfort, Air Quality
This project also included the replacement of the school’s entire heating and ventilating system to create a more efficient system and improve indoor air quality into the building. This system brings more fresh air into the building and returns in through ceiling and added dehumidification to the building.
David Leapaldt, senior architect for IIW Minnesota, has worked with the district on its facility plans since 2005.