This unique school, catering to the arts, sciences and technology, is part of the renaissance of Oklahoma City’s inner-city industrial corridor.
In an information-rich society, it’s to be expected that students today learn very differently than did their peers even a few decades ago. Educational facilities of the future must be able to accommodate technology, be highly flexible and allow for much more group interaction than in times past. These 21st-century needs are perfectly represented in the design and construction of ASTEC Middle/High School, a unique, specialized charter school focusing on the arts, sciences and technology and catering to students in grades six through 12. As the newest gem to emerge from the revitalization of Oklahoma City’s industrial inner-city corridor, ASTEC represents the culmination of 20 years of planning and is a crucial step forward in the education of Oklahoma’s children.
The new building includes a variety of communal spaces, allowing for greater interaction between classes and student groups. Key to the building’s flow is a large, centrally located, multi-purpose hub, the Community Forum, which serves as a dining area, gathering area and primary circulation space. Linked to the forum are an administrative suite, faculty suite, middle and high school classrooms, media center, food service, gymnasium, auditorium and building support spaces. A nearby sports field, sand volleyball courts, community trails and gardens complete the full site design.
FSB was able to streamline construction on the two-story structure by assigning a large, multi-disciplinary design team, reducing the design phase by approximately 25%. Regular meetings with the building owner and other involved parties ensured that any additional needs and concerns were addressed and integrated into the project at an early stage. By assigning dual roles to some spaces – such as a gymnasium that doubles as a FEMA safe room – costs were kept lowered and additional space was made available.
Now completed, the ASTEC Charter Schools serve as a gateway and a destination point – an iconic place to see, experience and discover. For Oklahoma students it’s their launching pad to a broader universe and to discovering their own place within it. We here at FSB are proud to help change the face of education-related architecture in the state, while providing Oklahoma’s students and teachers with a facility that helps them educate the leaders of tomorrow.