En Des Thesis Arch 1978
A presentation i. partial fulfillment of requirements for the Degree of Master of Architecture
May 15, 1978
The University of Colorado College of Environmental Design
Jefferson County Schools
A BRIEF HISTORY
The term "American Schoolhouse" conjures visions of quaint red strucrures in this nations rural heartland. And in many ways, this vision is not far removed from reality. But the picture is considerably more complicated than that.
In many ways, the schoolhouse It mirrors the educational of the society at large.
is a reflection of the activities which take place within it. process, which in turn reflects the views, values, and aspirations
The beginnings of the American educational system parallel the beginnings of the republic. What formal instruction took place was usually in the home, parent to child. When the new nation was secure to the point that attention could be turned to matters other than simple survival, the first priority feel to religion. In every organized communtity, the church, parish, or meeting house was built. When the education of the young became an objective, it was logical that the meeting house, by whatever title it went, would serve as the central location for this education to take place. It was also more often than not that the pastor or reverend of the local church, being the most lettered member of the communtity, would serve as the town teacher as well. Hence from it's earliest beginnings, the school and church shared close ties.1 It is no surprise that when either the school moved to its own facility as the communtity grew and prospered, or it inheirited the church building as it moved to grander quarters, that the prototypical school of the day adopted the form of the church. If nothing else, the religious meeting house served as the structural prototype for the school.
In the c schools, were est England, institut But with support by publi school f church r
ities of the new as those in the ablished in cong But there was o ions were often the accessibili was not possible c taxes. Athe th unds, such as Ne elated instituti
nation, education for the well to do copied the form of boarding Old World, particularly England. Schools for the common populice unction with all forms of religious sects, as they had been in ne crucial difference. In the Old World, these church related endowed with land, which meant tenants, which in turn meant income, t.y of the American frontier and free land for all, this method of for the church related schools. These schools can to be supported e turn of the 18th century, most states had, in one form or another, w York State's "permanent school fund" which supported the existing ons and encouraged the growth of new ones.2
But, as with so many other things, this situation was changed first in New York. In 1805, the State of New York chartered the New York Free School Society, a non-sectarian organization devoted solely to education. The local Baptist church objected. Following a series of suits and counter suits, the New York City Common Council decided that no more public monies would go to sectarian education. The age of public education had arrived. The Free School Society became the Public School Society, and its legacy endures today in New York City, as in P.S. 36.3
While these changes took place in the nature of the system, their effect on the physical form of the schoolhouse were, for the time being, minimal. When the point was reached that a single room would no longer suffice, the school became a multiple of that one room design.
The students would be seperated into "logical" divisions; first by sex, then "older" and "younger", and finally into discreet chronological divisions (ie "first", "second", "third" grades, etc.). The schoolhouse, in plan, became a series of self contained boxes.4
The "outside" of these schools followed the architecture of the times, especially in the cities. Classic Revival, Gothic Revival, Romanesque, Eclectic, all were represented to some extent. Possibly the most interesting developments during the mid-1800's took place in the growing communities of the Midwest. While the modern "school district" had yet to evolve, the traditiona church related school had become economically impossible without public support. For community schools -funding could be easily had, as long as they remained non-sectarian, but gone was the prototypical system. Trained teachers could fill the gap as far as the actual educational process was concerned, but who knew how to build a school?
Into the breach of information stepped the federal government. Starting in the mid 1800's under the Department of the Interior and continuing to this day under the Department of Health, Education and Welfare, a series of publications has been prepared to serve as guide books for the design and construction of community schools. In the Bureau of Education Circular No. 4-1880 Dated September, 1880, appears the following:
"Sir: A concise yet complete treatise on the proper construction, heating and ventilation of school buildings has been a desideratum. Works of this character written in other countries have been found quite unsuitable here, and the same objection applies for the South and West to most works written in the Eastern States. The efficient ventilation of school buildings is also a matter not well understood by the majority of builders and certainly is not provided for in most buildings now erected for school purposes.
"After much consideration I requested Mr. T.M.Clark, a well know Architect of Boston, to undertake the oreparation of an article which would be specially.serviceable in the construction of school-houses in rural districts and in small villages in every part of the country, and which would include the latest and best information not only about the construction and ventilation of school buildings, but also as to their decoration. I transmit tae result of his work.
Approved, and publication ordered. A. Bell
Acting Secretary." 5
For the better part of half a century, these Circulars of Information from the Bureau of Education were the bible for school house design and construction throughout middle America. It is no coincidence that the quaint red structure was common to so much of the country.
In the cities and towns spawned as a result of the country's burgeoning industries, there was great interest in public schools. On an administrative level, Free School Societies evolved into the quasi-governmental school districts we know today. The school house became a focus of public pride and concern. It became one of the focal points of the community. As such, Schools were well designed and ornate. Larger Schools sported gymnasiums and auditoriums. There was considerable concern for the health aspects of these schools in the city, for light, ventilation, open soace to play, and sunshine. Though organized community efforts (zoning, planning, and the like) in these areas were years in the future, local efforts centered around the school and the communities children were well established by the late 1800's. Even in some of the dingiest of the "company" towns, schools were situated in the best positions for light and fresh air, though this was often the result of wanting to "sell" the community. 6
Little had changed on what took place inside the school. The "three R's" were still the rule.
The McGuffy reader formed the backbone of many educational programs. The schoolhouse remained a collection of self contained boxes, collected along systems of long corridors.
The next major influences on the American schoolhouse were in large part the result of events in Europe. A number of simultaneous events were happening. In the field of education, process was being examined. Alternative and innovative forms of education, the Montessori and Summerhill approaches for example, Were introduced. As a part of this experimentation, a serious look was taken at the physical enclosure for this process, the schoolhouse. At the same time, the modern architectural revolution was taking place. The Bauhaus exerted its influence throughout the continent. The form of the classroom, its relationship to the outdoor environment, the genuine quality of the space became major considerations for the first time.
As an example, the Open Air School, in Amsterdam. Completed in 1930, it was specifically designed around the Oecroly teaching system. The two governing principles are that maximum attention will be given to the individual student, and that physical and intellectual development were of equal value to the child. Relationship to the environment was critical. The entire school maximizes sunlight and fresh air, with open terraces for each classroom. This relationship with the outdoor environment would be the hallmark of many European schools for years to come. 7
Scon omn of these new ideas rapidly found their way to the U.S. One of the pioneering efforts in what was to become the new wave of school design was C. Washburne's Crow Island School in V/innetka Illinois. It is the product of exhaustive studies by teachers, architects, and any number of technical specialists. Their conclusion: that the primary pupil simply comprehend the complex social structure of a school of 300 to 400 students. Hence the fundimental
requirement that each classroom should be a complete, self contained unit, housing all but the library, auditorium, playroom, and offices. 8
Following the Second World War, rapid changes took place on both sides of the Atlantic. In Europe, much effort was devoted to the development of building systems for economy and rapid erection.
Much of the continents's schoolhouse stock had been lost during the war, and the post war economies demanded economy. The English Ministry of Education sought the development of prototypical systems which would be capable of adapting to a number of spatial arrangements, but would be essentially assembled from a set of universally available components. In the U.S., all manner of new campus plans were developed, particularly in California. This is due jointly due to the explosive post war growth experienced there and the mild climate which allowed the maximum use of outdoor spaces.9
But in reality, little had changed in the actual nature of the classroom. They were now well designed, with excellent lighting, ventillation, and interrelationships, but the biggest change had yet to come.
In the early 1960's, a group of instructors in San Jose California were given the task of analyzing their schools, their educational programs, and critiquing them. The result was a disarmingly simple observation. Since the one room school had been abandoned, pupils had been seperated on the basis of age. But a frequently made observation, borne out by analysis of testing data showed the following: while a student might be old enough to be in the fifth grade, he might be doing math at a third grade level and reading at the sixth grade level. In short, the students simply don't develop in the same chronologically linear manner that the educatioal process was laid out in. When the firm of Kal H. Porter Associates was called in to design a new school for the district, a "new" concept was proposed. Instead of housing "classes" as discrete units, form groups which performed varoius activities at different levels, allowing the students to circulate between these groups as required. To facilitate this free and frequent circulation, simply house all these groups in a single space, sort of the same arrangement as the "open office". The result was Dilworth School in San Jose, esentially a throwback to the one room schoolhouse but with a much more sophisticated educational program. The school immediately began to attract attention, and was featured in a small pamphlet "Schools without Walls" published by the Educational Facilities Labratory, a Ford Foundation Agency. Few publications have had the impact in the field of architecture. The open classroom was born, and a revolution was started. 10
In the short soace of ten years, the basis for design of a major proportion of the schools in the country was the open classroom concept. Not only does it appeal to the challange of new educational programs, but it made use of many of the sophisticated new structural and environmental control packages which had come onto the market. And it had one other appeal as the decade of the 70s
approached: it was cheap.
In an early time, we left the financing of public schools in the hands of the tax payer. And in the 70's, the tax payers said enough. For the first time, appreciable numbers of bond issues, usually financed through increased taxes, were being rejected by the voters. And this included those for school construction. Many suburban school districts find themselves in singularly awkward situations. In those areas developed during the post war "baby boom" heydays of school construction, many communtities no longer have the youth population capable of supporting a school. But on the fringes of many communtities where growth continues, there is still a demand for new schools. Hence while some schools operate at alarming deficits due to low enrollment, districts search for new uses for empty schools, and new communities clamor for more and better schools, those in charge find their budgets attacked by their constitutiency. A strong argument for economy where ever it may be had.
Finally, the very educational programs upon which the entire school program is based have come under fire. Though the debate still rages, and it will not be resolved here, there is serious question as to whether the educational program has evolved at a pace to match the physical changes of the schoolhouse. Many teachers find themselves lamenting the absence of classroom walls. There is question as to the effectiveness of new programs, and many districts have found themselves offering increasingly popular "alternative" programs, in traditional classrooms with traditional programs.
With the approach of the 80's, the American schoolhouse is in a period of flux. More variety is today had in the design of elementary educational facilities than has ever been seen. From traditional classroom to open. From discretely scaled domestic "village" to clean space age "educational machines". The variety and possibility represents a challange to the designer, the instructor, the administrator, the tax payer, and, most important, the student.
1 Little Red Schoolhouse, Eric Sloane (Doubleday, Garden City, New York, 1972) p. 12
2 "Government and the Ruin of Public Education", Daniel Patrick Moynihan (Harper's,
April, 1978) p. 31-2.
4 Sloane, p. 15.
5 "Rural School Architecture", Bureau of Education Mo. 4-1880 (Government Printing Office, 1330) p. 241-2.
6 Sloane, p. 23.
7 The Mew School, Alfred Roth (Fredrick A. Praeger, New York, 1953) p. 207.
8 Ibid, o. 111.
9 Mew Educational Facilities, Carlo Testa (Verlag fur Architektur, Artemus, Zurich, 1975)
10 Schools Without Walls, Educational Facilities Labratories Inc. (New York, 1965)
"American Schoolhouses", Bureau of Education Bulliten 1910, No. 5. (Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C.) 1911.
Modern School Houses, Part 2, The American Architect (New York, 1915)
Schoolhouse, ed. Walter McQuade (Aluminum Company of America, 1958)
Teaching and learning are cooperative communicative activities which can be affected by the classroom environment. A variety of classroom organizations, large groups, small groups, and independent study, are necessary to accommodate various learning styles and activities, including physical movement. The school shou]d provide the child with the essential facts, exoeriences, skills, and sources of information. Because of the throughly developed curricular orograms, space for specific materials and equipment to support those programs must be appropriately designed.
Individualization of the elementary school program is supported and enhanced by a flexibility of the educational space. To further define this desired flexibility, the Jefferson County Board of Education has adopted the following policy statement which it expects to be implemented in the design of these schools:
"No more than 50% of the total space for general instruction shall be designed as open space.
All open space designed in R-1 schools shall be truly flexible in that the space will have the capability of being divided into self contained processes. Partitioning devices for this purpose shall be included in the contract and they shall have audio attenuating qualities which reduce classroom noise transmission. Further, mechanical and electrical systems shall be designed to suoport such self contained areas without interfering with the flexibility of movement of such partitioning devices."
Suggested Space Allocation: Elementary School with 550 Students
Instructional Suites: 4 containing 4,500 sq. ft. each
Instructional Materials Center (IMC) ......................
Art Room ..................................................
Music Room ................................................
Physical Education Area ...................................
Special Education Programs ................................
Special Storage (partitioning devices, etc.) ..............
Administration (PPS, Conference, Storage) .................
Performance, Cafeteria, Kitchen Area ......................
Circulation and Utility Space (19% of above) ..............
Square Feet Section
. 3,025 2.4
, 1,200 2.5
. 1,200 2.6
. 3,650 2.7
. 2,400 2.8
. 1,575 2.11
, 2,500 2.12
While these allocations indicate ratios and approximations of space to function, they may be varied slightly as design requirements dictate.
2.3 Instructional Suites
Program Space Allocations:
Self Contained Classroom .............
Learning Activity Area ...............
Teaching Team Command Post/Work Space Flexible Instruction Areas (3) .....
750 900 1 50
An Instructional Suite is the basic unit of the instructional program. These areas will be the hub of educational activity. They will require the development of teaching teams which will move children among the various suite areas as student needs and program functions dictate.
2.31 Self Contained Classroom
The self contained classroom will be available to provide a suitable, extra quiet environment for those students and/or programs which will most benifit from it. It is expected that students will move back and foforth between the fixed and flexible space throughout the day, week, and year as needs dictate. Likewise, students will move back and forth to the learning activity area.
2.32 Learning Activity Area
Experience with flexible, carpeted instructional areas has shown that a seperate area is needed for some elements of academic programs (science, social studies, etc.). Various aspects of these academic programs require many wet, active, smelly, noisy activities.
A seoerate, closed room containing adequate space for 30 to 35 students, with room for movement around tables and to and from the counter storage area. This space should be ventilated and acoustically treated. It should have close proximity to a quiet area for students to read and do individual research and reporting. This area should serve the instructional suite in which it is located. The room needs to be darkened at times for films and to carry out prescribed units of study. Lighting must be at least 80 foot candles of intensity at desk top height for microscope work.
Flat topped tables for small group work and flexible seating arrangements, as well as counter space for animal cages, projects and growing areas are needed. The perimiter of the room should be lined with counters, except for the chalkboard areas. The counters are needed for displays,
interest centers, cages, aquariums, and other activities. The space underneath the counters should be enclosed with sliding doors and contain adjustable shelves. The space above the counters should be lined with shelves for displays. A student workbench for building, hammering, and sawing is needed. A pegboard rack above the workbench for tools is desireable. Two sinks that are easily accessible to children and surrounded by at least four feet of plastic laminated counterspace on each side of the sinks are needed. Four electrical outlets on each wall and outlet strips over counters are required so equipment can be used on countertops. In addition to the student furniture, the room should accommodate a refrigerator, file cabinet, hot plate, and incubator.
Some activities and materials being used require a hard surfaced floor. Tackable walls of light color are desireable so any wall can be used as a projection screen or display area. Twenty-four feet of chalkboard is needed. The chalkboards should be located in different areas of the classroom to enable small group instruction.
A seperate storage room that adjoins this area is required due to the amount of equipment and supplies necessary to conduct the program. The storage area should be accessible by doors from inside and outside the area to allow access without class interruption. Locks should be orovided since chemicals and expensive equipment will be stored.
The storage room should contain:
Locked storage cabinets
Ninety linear feet of 12" adjustable shelf Ten linear feet of 24" adjustable shelf File space
Safe chemical storage
Ventilation to remove odors from scientific experiments
2.33 Teaching Team Command Post
Teacher work spaces should be arranged in a cluster to promote interaction yet allow for some privacy. Visual superrision of the classrooms and areas should be provided from these work spaces. Countertop work space with two drawer files below is suggested. Lockable storage a.nd coat hanging space for each teacher is needed.
2.3a Flexible Instruction Areas
Demountable and readily moveable walls will be available to divide the flexible space into classroom spaces of varying size as teaching teams desire. (Note the Jefferson County Board of Education policy in regard to open/closed space in section 2.1).
2.4 Instructional Materials Center
Program Space Allocations:
Media Specialist (Workroom/office) Preparation Area (Sink, storage, etc.)
Stacks for 6500 volumes ...............
Circulation Desk, Display, etc.........
Seminar Room ..........................
Rook and Audio Visual Storage .........
Dark Room .............................
Square Feet 1,400
100 400 410 1 50 200 265 100
Seating should equal 10% of the school population (65).
The IMC should be part of and blend into the student/teacher interaction area and specialized instruction centers. It should be easily accessible to all instruction areas. Long narrow spaces should be avoided.
The design of the IMC should provide both efficient operation and a relaxed informal atmosphere.
The IMC should be protected from high noise level areas by location, acoustical treatment, or both.
Interior walls should be non-load bearing to provide for future flexibile arrangements. Lighting zones controlled by accessible seitches should be used.
All services (water, electrical, etc.) should be provided.
Access must be readily available to the service area for deliveries.
The seminar room should be divisible into two equal areas.
2.5 Art Room
The art facility is a workroom, a labratory. It is by nature a messy, dirty, noisy area and should be designed to suit its function. The class size is generally 28 to 32 students. Art activities covered in the art room are: drawing, painting, crafts, clay, sculpture, plaster, batik, wood and paper construction, weaving, stitchery, art appreciation and display.
Chalkboard and tackboard surfaces.
2.32 Tnsturmental Music
A seperate insturmental music area is needed. This is also a high noise level activity area with large amounts of sound being generatedwhich needs to be properly acoustically controlled. In this area students in groups of various sizes will perform on wind, percussion, and string insturments. This area should be adjacent to the vocal music room, or it may be part of the performance area.
It requires 400 square feet.
Acoustical ceiling treatment.
Lockable insturment storage.
Chalkboard and tackboard surfaces.
Special attention to adequate lighting.
2.7 Physical Education Area
The intent is to provide an area which is 100% useable space for the multiple presentation of the Physical education activities within the program. The intent is to keep all of the students actively involved at all times within the limitin factors of equipment, supervision, and safety. This total involvment requires total flexibility and adaptability of the physical plant.
A minimal area of 50' x 65' x 16' should be provided.
Provide a 300 square foot instructors office with a shower stall.
Provide one dressing area of 100 square feet for changing into gym clothes (girls only).
The area should be a simple uncluttered box. The cirriculum stresses the use of walls to help develoo skills, they are as valuable as the floors. They should be flat, smooth, and easily cleaned. Carpeted floors have been found saticfactory.
The performance area should be adjacent as the gym will serve as a seating area.
2.3 Kindegarten area
The xindegarten spaces should be planned for two kindegarten classes, either self contained of approximately 1200 square feet or as a combined space of 2400 square feet. Each space should adapt to large group activities, small group activities, and individual activities which will include dancing, running, skipping, story telling, resting, viewing, beginning reading,
drawing, painting, singing, performing on rythm insturments, etc. It is by nature an active, messy, noisy area. It should be part of the primary area to allow for easy movement and interchange between curriculum areas as greater emphasis is placed on individuualization.
Easy access to outdoor, paved play area.
Tackboard and chalkboard space.
Audio visual capabilities.
"Center" spaces for music, art, reading, playhouses, etc.
50% carpeted area.
2.9 Special Education Area
This space should be divisible by means of moveable partitions. The area will serve from 3 to 15 students in each of two programs. Those able will move from this area for special programs, art, physical education and the like. Facilities for two simultaneous classes should be provided.
2.10 Special Storage
Storage as required for specialized purposes.
2.11 Administration Area
This area provides for the administrative activities concerned with the operation of the school. This is the area that people first come to for entrance into the school and other functions. Easy access for delivery of materials, supplies,-and the like must be available.-
2.111 Main Office Area
A lobby and reception area for three to four parents and up to 10 students serves as the entrance to the school. Adjacent should be a secretarial area with workspace for two, requsite desks files and the like,
2.112 Office Storage
125 square feet for records and supplies.
2.113 Principalis Office
Requires two exits, one to the main office area.
2.114 Clinic Area
The clinic area serves the functions of caring for the ill, injured, or upset children. The clinic should provide an area to house two beds, health supplies and records, a work space for a nurse, and a toilet. It should be located so the secretary can supervise it when the nurse is not in attendance.
2.115 Conference Area
A room large enough for two conference areas of approximately ten persons each which can be divided by operable soundproof partitions into rooms for the social worker, speech correctionist, and psychologist to perform conferencing, testing, and speech correction activities.
2.116 Teacher's Lounge
A comfortable area for the teachers, should provide storage and kitchen facilities.
2.12 Performance, Cafeteria, Kitchen Area
This area should be contiguous to the largest possible indoor space in order to create a stage
and audience situation.
The location and design of the required raised performance area may serve other functions in the building. It need not be a seperate and distinct space. It might be considered as part of the regular classroom areas, as a music room, insturmental music room, or cafeteria.
Soecialized, dimmer equipped lighting.
Large projection surface.
Curtain track for back drop curtain to define 800 square foot stage area, leaving additional space for back stage activities.
This should be designed to be a serving and washing kitchen only. Food will be prepared in an adjacent school kitchen and transported in vacumn containersto this site. Therefore, ramped or non-obstructed outside access is of utmost importance. The kitchen should be located adjacent io the performance area since this area will also serve as the cafeteria. The kitchen should include an employee restroom and janitorial area. Up to 150 students will be served in each of 4 lunch sessions.
STONY CREEK SCHOOL
PROPOSED NORTH ACCESS
10 FT 5M