For this $17 million campus for Great Hearts Academies in North Phoenix, the project team realized a vital goal for the nonprofit client group’s leadership: expansion of its offerings to more students in a cost-conscious, environmentally suitable and highly effective learning environment. The critical accomplishment of this expansion, on budget and on schedule, will have a broad impact on the surrounding economically disadvantaged neighborhoods, especially in providing increased preparation for and access to opportunities for higher education. Two existing academies are now located on the new campus: Archway North Phoenix (grades K-6) and North Phoenix Preparatory (grades 7-12), serving approximately 1,300 students since it opened on August 10th, 2017, and soon to serve as many as 1,600 students when operating at full capacity. These students now enjoy an advantage in pursuit of a college education and, along with staff, faculty and families, a campus and facilities designed and built to be a green, healthy, and sustainable platform for better education.
Great Hearts selected Studio Ma to conceive and build a new campus that could accommodate more students. The architects masterplanned a campus for the 10.1-acre site that could serve the two academies’ distinct student populations and discrete needs. This required striking a balance between dedicated and shared facilities. The two academies each enjoy dedicated exterior green space, for example: North Phoenix Preparatory has its own 14,500-square-foot courtyard while Archway North Phoenix enjoys a separate 17,000-square-foot playground and courtyard. These are both distinct from the campus athletics field that the two schools share, a field designed to meet the regulations of the Arizona Interscholastic Association for middle and high school football.
The two academies also share an administrative building, as well as an 18,800-square-foot gymnasium with a split basketball-volleyball court, full locker rooms with showers, and a concessions facility, among other amenities. New spaces on the campus including state-of-the-art teaching-learning environments to support the mission of providing Great Hearts students with a classical liberal arts curriculum. The facilities include modern classrooms, science labs, art studios, music rooms, a cafeteria and library space. Working closely with Adolfson & Peterson Construction and owner’s representative Nations Group, Studio Ma determined an appropriate project delivery schedule and the team delivered the campus and new buildings on time and within budget parameters.
Great Hearts Academies North Phoenix also incorporates the latest in sustainable design strategies, providing a healthy environment for students, teachers and staff, and high-performing, energy-efficient facilities throughout the campus. For example, the building enclosures feature highly insulated, water-managed EIFS system. Composed of multiple light colors, recessed glazed building entries, and low-albedo foam roofing, the enclosure limits heat gain and minimizes required cooling loads, helping to optimize the operating costs while reducing the overall carbon footprint. Low-VOC finishes and recycled content throughout contribute to occupant health, and the installation of water fountains that support bottle refilling will reduce waste and impact students’ ability to make healthy choices.