|The back view of the Bailey's annex.|
Those are some of the highlights of a presentation by representatives of the Atlanta-based Cooper & Carry architectural firm at a school board work session Jan. 13. The school board purchased the building, at 6245 Leesburg Pike in Seven Corners, on Dec. 20. It will house Bailey’s students in grades 3-5, beginning September 2014.
|The yellow areas are common rooms and blue areas are classrooms.|
When Bailey’s students were asked to draw pictures showing how the new school should be designed, they came up with some creative ideas, like a video game gallery, said Lauren Perry Ford, an associate at Cooper & Carry.
The new school won’t have that, but it will have a black box theater, a story pit in the library, a cafeteria with small tables giving it more of a café feel, science labs, a TV studio, art rooms, two fitness rooms, and walls that can be written on.
The center of the L-shaped building will be the “main circulation spine,” with a large stairwell, Ford told board members. The common rooms would be located close to the center, with the classrooms on the far ends of the building. There will be a multipurpose room on the first floor, and the library will be on the fifth floor.
The existing entrance to the building is in front, facing Leesburg Pike, on the eastern corner. That doesn’t meet ADA accessibility requirements and doesn’t work for school buses, so the entrance will be shifted to the back of the building to better accommodate a bus dropoff and kiss and ride area.
There will be three or four classrooms per floor, organized into learning communities and connected by new stairways to classrooms above or below. Younger children would be in the lower levels. Sneed said some of the classrooms will be larger, in case FCPS decides to use the building for kindergartners in the future.
People generally think of an office building as dark and dreary inside, but this building is unusual in that it has large windows and lots of natural light, said Superintendent Karen Garza. All of the classrooms will have exterior windows.
Bailey’s Principal Marie Lemmon said school will have furnishings that could be easily reconfigured to accommodate flexible learning. Rather than being limited to rows of desks with the teacher lecturing in the front of the classroom, the school’s design would allow for more interactive learning, with students working on projects in small groups.
About half the classrooms will have bathrooms. Other bathrooms will be near the elevators. Children won’t be using the elevators on a regular basis, Ford said; the elevators would be primarily used by children and staff with disabilities. The renovations will include a sprinkler system.
A big issue is what to do about recreational facilities. FCPS won’t get approval to make any changes to the exterior or the building or the grounds until well after school starts next September. There will be several fitness spaces inside which together total about 5,000 square feet—which is the size of a standard school gym, Sneed said.
In addition, about half of the first floor is a protected carport, which could be used for outdoor recreation, Lemmon added. Phase 2 will include a real playground. Sneed said FCPS would like to involve the Bailey’s community and nearby residents in the design for the outdoor area.
Mason School Board member Sandy Evans noted that some neighbors had concerns about the possibility of cutting through a cul de sac behind the property and confirmed that there are no plans to do that.