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  Kids At Play Learning Center, Page 36Kids At Play Learning Center
Tony Fernandez Architect
3250 Mary Street, #406, Coconut Grove, FL 33133

Goulds, Florida
Total Square Feet: 15,485
Construction Period: Jan 2002 to Sep 2002 

Construction Team
Structural Engineer: Davis Engineers, P.A. - 780 Tamiami Canal Road, Miami, FL 33144
Electrical/Mechanical/Plumbing Engineer: MEP Engineering, Inc. - 10590 N.W. 27th Street, #101, Miami, FL 33172
CIVIL Engineer: B.A. Carmona & Associates - 7400 S.W. 50th Terrace, #200, Miami, FL 33155

Kids at Play Learning Center is a much needed childcare facility in the community of Goulds, a neighborhood in suburban south Miami-Dade County that is in the process of being revitalized. The building also has five retail spaces that will hopefully bring small business tenants that will offer shopping diversity in the immediate area. The site neighbors a gas station to the north, vacant lots to the south, traffic busy 112th Avenue to the west, and a residential neighborhood to the east. There are also residential neighborhoods across 112th Avenue.

The developers, partnering with the Goulds Community Development Corporation wanted a modern facility that would feel spacious, have natural light and be safe and secure for the kids. The retail stores, the entrance to the childcare tenant and the parking area face 112th Avenue. Ten large classrooms (in the order of five, six and eight hundred square feet) are organized on two sides of an L-shaped circulation spine, most with direct access to the playground on the south side and the rear of the site that is adjacent to the residential neighbors, and buffered from 112th Avenue by the retail spaces.

Three classrooms that don’t face the playgound were provided with skylights, and all the classrooms have windows and glass doors with a sidelight and transom on the hallway side for easy supervision of the children, and to visually interconnect the classrooms with each other and the playground.

There are also staff offices, a lounge that can double as a meeting place, laundry room, food preparation area and a storage room. Classrooms average 24 x 30 feet, and the ceiling height is 12 feet throughout giving a feeling of spaciousness to the building interior. Regular windows and glass block clerestory windows bring light to the interior and make for an interesting composition inside and out. On what is essentially a square concrete block building with a pre-cast double-T roof, parapet gables of different shapes and two pop-out volumes that break out of the box, were designed on the exterior and painted in bright colors to stimulate the children’s imagination and accentuate the placement of fenestration. This dynamic building skin can be appreciated from the playground, and from the adjacent residential neighborhood where it has a presence stating an uplifting spirit for the community. In the interior, the classrooms were painted in different pastel colors, and the vinyl flooring was laid out in different color patterns and a scale proportioned to complement the size of the classrooms. All classrooms have direct access to bathrooms for convenience and ease of supervision by the teachers.

The outdoor area is nearly 8,000 square feet, landscaped with shade trees much needed in the bright Florida sun, and contains a meandering concrete path for tricycles, a kiddies basketball court, play equipment, and many other play components such as elevated sand and water tables, art easels, and more. Grass and mulch complement the hard surfaces in the play area, which is secured by concrete block and chain link fencing, and organized into different areas for different age groups.

DIV 07: Built-Up: Certainteed.
DIV 08: Windows, Entrances & Storefronts: Traco; Glass Block: Pittsburgh Corning. 
DIV 09: Vinyl: Armstrong; Acoustical Treatment: U. S. Gypsum.
DIV 10: Drinking Fountains: Elkay; Bathroom Fixtures: American Standard.
DIV 16: Lighting: Lithonia.

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