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Maclay Lower School

The project was an addition/renovation to an existing administrative and classroom building, constructed in the mid-60s, still bearing the original budgeted style and flat roof design of that era; along with a number of additions which occurred through the years. With a growing campus and a greatly enriched level of campus design awareness, the Lower School, which is considered the “face of the School”, was more of a missing link. With budget and time constraints, design and construction of a new building was not feasible. The outcome is a greatly enhanced building which acts as a keystone bringing the campus together as one cohesive whole.

The new, covered student drop-off and clock tower entry reach out to users and visitors alike as well as passing traffic on the highly traveled road to the west. Lengths were taken to protect the two, one hundred year Oak trees framing the clock tower, enhancing the majestic nature of the building’s regional design style. Presenting itself as the welcome face of the campus, the clock tower drop-off is poised as a protective layer standing between the students and the outside world. Familiar cues from an earlier southern vernacular are apparent in the clock tower while simultaneously presenting its contemporary design style.

An additional computer room and art room now adjoin the southern end of the building allowing a previously in-filled, multi-functional space to be opened and repurposed, providing a central gathering area at the intersection of the student and administrative spaces. A retrofit pitched metal roof system adds another level of cohesion between the lower school and the adjacent campus buildings, all sharing in a similar regional design language.

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