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  Seward Middle School, Page 35Seward Middle School

Architects Alaska/Klauder & Co.
900 West 5th Avenue, #403, Anchorage, AK 99501

LOCATION: Seward, Alaska
DATE BID: June 2004
CONSTRUCTION PERIOD: July 2004 to Oct 2005
Total Square Feet: 37,495 Site: 20+ acres.
Number of Buildings: One.
Building Size: First floor, 34,574; second floor, 2,921; total, 37,495 square feet.
Building Height: First floor, 14’; second floor, 17’4”; floor to floor, 14’; total, 31’4”.
Basic Construction Type: New.
Foundation: Reinforced concrete. Exterior Walls: CFMU, curtainwall. Roof: Membrane. Floors: Concrete. Interior Walls: CMU, metal stud drywall.

STRUCTURAL ENGINEER: Enterprise Engineering - 2525 Gambell Street, Anchorage, AK 99503
GENERAL CONTRACTOR: G&S Construction - P. O. Box 1493, Soldotna, AK 99669
MECHANICAL-ELECTRICAL ENGINEER: AMC Engineers - 701 East Tudor Road, #250, Anchorage, AK 99503
ACOUSTICAL ENGINEERING: Mullins Acoustics - 3705 Arctic Boulevard, #2612, Anchorage, AK 99503
COST ESTIMATOR: HMS, Inc. - 4103 Minnesota Drive, Anchorage, AK 99503

Seward is situated in south central Alaska at the northern end of Resurrection Bay. The community’s close proximity to the water defines its character, both its natural surroundings and the built environment. Seward Middle School’s architectural character was designed to reflect that relationship.

Seward Middle School serves the community’s 7th and 8th graders, with a current student population of approximately 125 students. The school and program are designed to provide space for growth to accommodate 250 students.

Seward Middle School is adjacent to Seward High School and shares some exterior program features such as play fields and running tracks. Cross-country running is a popular local activity, and the school shares the site with some of the community’s popular cross-country running trails. Extensive effort was spent to preserve as much of the existing trail system as possible. Similarly the building was located on the site to preserve as much natural area as possible, in particular the large Sitka spruce trees. This was made possible through the use of shared facilities with the High School.

The staff and administration of the school are committed to a project-based, multi-discipline curriculum. The facility has separate academic clusters for each grade level, organized around a project lab. Each cluster contains its own science classroom. The school’s instructional media center is located between the two clusters.

The original facility program did not include an Auditeria, but rather included the cafeteria and auditorium functions within the Gymnasium. The design team’s approach was to consolidate circulation space and use it for these program functions. By doing so and efficiently combining almost all of the circulation space into a single room, the architect was able to create additional program area for the Auditeria, without exceeding the original total program area. This had the added benefit of providing a school that is easy for the staff to supervise. The principal was particularly pleased that he could see virtually every academic area from within that space. 

A specific challenge for a small community is the ability to fund teaching staff for exploratory subjects. From year to year the teaching expertise changes, so not all exploratory subjects can be available every year. The program includes three exploratory “lab” classrooms. One that is designed for technology education, and 3-D art programs. Another accommodates 2-D art and family and consumer sciences. The third combines music and drama and also serves as a performance stage for music, drama, and oral presentations. 

DIV. 4: CFMU: Pentstar.
DIV. 7: Membrane: Carlisle SynTec.
DIV. 9: Wall Panels: Wall Technology.
DIV. 23: HVAC Silencers: Industrial Acoustics.  

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