Great Falls High School Renovation & Addition

Client:

Great Falls Public Schools

Year:

2020

Size:

In October of 2016, the voters of Great Falls passed a $98.86 million-dollar bond issue for Great Falls Public Schools to upgrade infrastructure and add educational learning spaces at the elementary and high school districts. Of this total amount, the District’s Facilities Action Plan earmarked approximately $37.33 million dollars for the necessary improvements to Great Falls High School. Approximately $20.76 Million dollars will be used for upgrades to the Main Campus, which includes upgrades to the mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems; classroom remodels; technology upgrades; and improvements to campus parking. The remaining $16.5 million dollars will be spent on a new building addition (the HUB) to connect the existing Main Campus to the existing South Campus building. The HUB addition will increase campus safety, address the building entries; add needed STEM and CTE educational spaces, improve the kitchen and dining facilities; and provide a central learning and gathering space for the students.

The process began with a meeting with the district’s and high school’s leadership team to define the project and scope, review previous information related to the project, outline team and owner expectations, and define deliverable for this phase. An Executive Committee was then created, which includes district and school administrators who would be leading the effort on a regular basis and making decisions related to the project and budget. A Steering Committee was also created as a representation of the departments and groups within the high school, and is comprised of school teachers, staff, administrators, students, and community members. This committee provides feedback and design recommendations to the executive committee, while acting as liaisons to their specific departments or groups within the school. 45 Architecture’s design team also met with every teacher in each department, many students, facilities and maintenance personnel, kitchen and food service staff, and district representative to get a better understanding of the vision, mission, principles, operations, needs, wants, and goals of the district and high school.

DESIGN APPROACH:
Building an addition next to the historic Main building requires a sensitive solution that compliments the handsome 1930 fabric. The proposed Hub is smaller in scale than Main yet provides a welcoming, prominent new Entry on axis at the end of 4th Avenue South. The ‘L’ shaped addition spans north to south; connecting the Main building to the South Campus. The longer leg, running east to west adjacent to the South Campus, houses large, naturally day lit shop spaces accessible from a corridor along the perimeter wall with expansive views into the shops and out to the Memorial Stadium. The Hub offers protection from the severe winter weather and links the various levels of the campus.

Circulating from the Main building into the Hub poses some challenges as the existing Main corridor, past the Auditorium, is narrow; often creating a bottle neck. This corridor will empty into the upper level of the Hub, but to alleviate the traffic, an alternate route will be provided at the lower level where the current Cafeteria will be renovated as Classrooms with a corridor along the perimeter. This will feed into the lower level of the Hub at the Learning Stair. Further north, the existing elevated pedestrian bridge into the Industrial Arts building will be removed and replaced with a stair, providing access to both levels of the Main and Industrial Arts buildings.

Renovation work within the Main building include mechanical, electrical, and plumbing upgrades. In addition, the project scope includes replacing the remaining hybrid windows with metal clad, wood, double hung windows to resemble the original 1930 fenestration.

100,000 SF (New)
+/- 170, 000 SF (Renovation)

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