Lancaster 9th Grade Center

WRA Architects is proud to partner with Lancaster ISD to convert Lancaster Elementary School to a 9th grade center for 650 students. The charge of the Architect was to take a facility currently being used to educate elementary age students and update the entrance, interiors and infrastructure to something more appropriate for the 21st century high school freshman. As you approach the main entrance you will notice the barrel vault has been replaced with a more contemporary entry vestibule and canopy partially covering a plaza that extends out to the parking lot. A few parking spaces were sacrificed at the southern edge of the plaza to double the area of parent drop off. The enlarged plaza also gives the entrance a more collegiate look and feel. All the purple tile on the exterior will be covered or replaced by an epoxy coating using an earth tone color to match the new upscale look of the entrance. As you enter the building you will pass through a security vestibule and into an enlarged reception area. The new reception desk location will allow for office staff to easily monitor everyone approaching the building. Once past the front desk you will move into the newly remodeled student commons. Formerly the cafeteria and stage, the commons will be a new student-centric hub that will not only serve as the dining hall but also be a connector to all areas of the campus. The multi-level tiered floor will be filled in to create a single, continuous floor surface The library is Immediately adjacent to the commons, and three large glass doors will allow the library to completely open to the commons or partition itself off as the needs of the space fluctuate. A portion of the reading area of the library is given over to collaboration space adjacent to the commons. This will allow views directly from the commons to the exterior and a new enhanced outdoor learning area. All these spaces are intended to be extensions of the commons and give the high school age student a variety of places to study, collaborate, and hang-out in a safe and more controlled environment. Band and Choir rooms will remain in place with minor changes. The art room will be relocated to be adjacent to the music areas. A new black box theater and dance studio will be located at the north end of the building in existing shop spaces to make best use of the high structure, giving more volume to these rooms. The food service area will be expanded to provide three serving lines in lieu of one. Windows and glass doors at the entrances to the new serving lines will provide a more pleasing aesthetic and security after food service hours. Minor changes will be made to the PE and Athletics areas. A new classroom, an office for a campus athletic coordinator and a training room will be included. Dedicated spaces for ROTC will be located on the west end of the building with easy access to the outdoors for drills. The north wing will be renovated to house 4 science classrooms which will be enlarged to meet the current requirements of the Texas Education Agency. Instructional space for special needs, culinary arts and cosmetology will also be provided. The west wing of the facility will be used for academic classrooms. All the interiors of these spaces will be updated. These classrooms will be used to teach math, English, Spanish, Social Studies, Early College, and Career and Technical Education courses. Along with creating 21st century learning spaces, the renovation will include new finishes, complete accessibility upgrades, and new mechanical and lighting systems. This project will provide an updated and modern facility with a collegiate feel as students from Lancaster ISD transition from Middle School to High School.