Houston – Shepley Bulfinch has been engaged by The Awty International School to provide master planning and design services to transform a former 30-year-old urban office park into a dynamic early learning campus. The Awty International School, a college preparatory PK3 through 12th grade international day school in Houston, celebrated the groundbreaking for the renovation of three buildings totaling 75,000 SF and sited on five and a quarter acre at 1110 North Post Oak Boulevard. Slated for completion by fall 2017, the project is the largest capital investment ever made in the continued expansion and development of Awty.
The Awty International School offers a well-rounded college preparatory curriculum with a strong emphasis on the study of a second language to fluency and a multicultural perspective. The new early learning campus will provide learning and enrichment facilities for 345 children in pre-K (ages three and four), kindergarten, and first grade. The early learning school will include 25 interactive classrooms, two multi-purpose rooms, art and music rooms, a gymnasium, teaching kitchen, library, media room, and dining facilities for students and faculty. More than 20,000 SF of outdoor play space will feature contoured terrain with a tricycle path running under bridges and play equipment, two playgrounds, a soccer field, student gardens, basketball and play courts. Shepley Bulfinch’s master plan also provides for outdoor classrooms and flexible learning spaces. The classrooms are focused around the outdoor play space and a vibrant tree-lined, European style boulevard and plaza with benches and pavers.
“Awty is known for providing our youngest students with a warm and supportive learning environment, focused on their emotional, social, physical, and cognitive development. With the groundbreaking of our new early learning campus, Awty will deliver that education in a state-of-the-art facility with exceptional outdoor play and learning areas tailored to the needs of young children,” said Kevin McTernan, chief advancement officer at The Awty International School. “Our continued collaboration with Shepley Bulfinch has produced a superbly designed school campus that will inspire students, faculty, and staff. We look forward to welcoming students to this new campus next fall.”
The three buildings are currently being gutted and renovated for the school’s needs, and a portion of one building will be demolished to construct a new two-story multipurpose gym including climbing wall and theatre stage. Two thirds of the existing parking lot will be covered with synthetic turf for the outdoor play space, with the remainder left for visitor parking. The buildings’ will be clad with vertical perforated multi-colored translucent panels to add color and playfulness to its existing brick façade. The outdoor classrooms use the same panels for roofing in a shingled pattern. A key component to planning the campus was vehicular circulation and campus security, Shepley Bulfinch’s design allowed for appropriate carpool stacking to reduce neighborhood traffic and provided controlled campus access with security fencing, check-in points, and separate entries and circulation for carpool drop-off, visitors, and faculty.
The early learning campus project team also includes:
- J.E. Dunn – general contractor
- Red Oak Group – landscape architect
- Cardno Haynes Whaley Associates, Inc. – structural engineering
- Burns DeLatte & McCoy Inc. – MEP engineering
- Kuo & Associates, Inc. – civil engineering
- DataCom Design Group, Inc. – IT/AV consulting
- Worrel Design Group – food service consulting
- McKenna Contracting – playground equipment and sunshades company
Shepley Bulfinch’s previous projects for The Awty International School include the lower school complex, an athletic complex with one of the finest soccer fields in the state, a 65,000 SF, three-story classroom and administration building, and a 400-car parking garage and maintenance facility.