Arlington Community Academy
Ebert Norman Brady Architects
Posted: March 2, 2020 | Projects
Situated on six acres in the Arlington area of Jacksonville, this unique school serves approximately 300 underprivileged students from pre-kindergarten to fifth grade.
Photo Courtesy of Jeff Westcott Photography
The school was founded on Christian doctrines, and a chapel is featured in the most prominent position on campus. The one-story school building is symmetrical about the center, with a high-ceiling glass entry leading to a clerestory-lit interior play area that connects to the freestanding chapel at the termination of the entry sequence. A triangular high roof with exposed structure connects the entry and the chapel.
On one side of the interior play area are the administrative offices and the media center; on the other side are the “cafétorium”, kitchen, and art and music classrooms. Classrooms wrap around three sides of the building, and are paired with bathrooms and resource rooms in between, creating generous entries from the corridor.
Architectural stone laid in a running bond is used for the exterior of the administrative offices and the chapel. Metal wall panels clad the cafétorium. The remainder of the building on the rear and sides is stucco.
This pre-k through fifth-grade facility was commissioned by a private philanthropist with the singular goal of making a positive impact on the lives of at-risk youth. The new facility was strategically placed in one of the poorest, crime-plagued neighborhoods in the City of Jacksonville. The goal of the school is to provide a nurturing and supportive environment for the children in this community, starting at the pre-kindergarten age group. A non-denominational chapel was included to provide spiritual support to the students and their families. The buildings were designed around the goal of providing a premier learning place for the students and staff.
The project site was a large, rectangular, nondescript area with little terrain. It is bordered on the north and east by main roads littered with aged commercial retail buildings. The south and west sides of the site are single-family residential neighborhoods.
The simple and most logical approach was to place the parking directly adjacent to the main access road, using the building mass as a buffer to protect the playgrounds behind, and place the jurisdictional retention pond at the low point of the site. The linear building concept was influenced by the rectilinear site.
The linear building is divided into two segments and canted at slight angles, creating a triangulated light-filled center gallery. The west segment contains the pre-kindergarten through second-grade classrooms, while the east segment contains the third through fifth-grade classrooms. The main office and cafétorium flank the main entry to provide controlled access and visual surveillance.
The center gallery is a multifunctional space intended for rainy day activities and social gatherings. The gallery has preset frames to showcase the artwork of the students on a rotating basis, and is posted with inspirational sayings to continually motivate the children and staff. Framed by the gallery, the chapel beyond is physically detached in a metaphorical nod to the concept of separation of church and state. The geometry of the chapel is influenced by the gallery angles — as if it were pulled from the gallery.
The circulation avenues within the school are dotted with intersections where different classroom types are identified with an accent color and matching recessed circular alcove with a recessed light. These graphic features serve as a wayfinding device. Other enrichment classrooms are provided with fun and engaging features such as the music room with the piano key wall graphic.
Carefully designed with a limited budget and ambitious scope, this educational facility seeks to foster the mission of the client to provide a supportive and nurturing environment to help at-risk youth “break the cycle”, and be offered opportunities to help them strive to meet their full potential.
Building Envelope: Arriscraft Building Stone
Roofing: GAF, Petersen
Windows, Entrances, Storefronts & Curtain Wall: YKK
Flooring: Armstrong, Shaw, Mohawk
Interior: CertainTeed, Marino + Ware
Lighting: Finelite, H.E. Williams, Lite Control, Intense, ETC, Altman, Vode, Liton, Peachtree
Ebert Norman Brady Architects
1361 13th Avenue, S., #230
Jacksonville Beach, FL 32250
Structural Engineering Services
6501 Arlington Expressway, Building B, #201
Jacksonville, FL 32211
Mechanical & Electrical Engineer
Sims & Rosch
3020 Hartley Road, #100
Jacksonville, FL 32257
Envision Design + Engineering
2002 San Marco Boulevard, #203
Jacksonville, FL 32207
General Contractor & Cost Estimator
Auld & White Constructors, LLC
4168 Southpoint Parkway, #101
Jacksonville, FL 32216
Matern Professional Engineering, Inc.
9428 Baymeadows Road, #230
Jacksonville, FL 32256
Date Bid: Aug 2015
Construction Period: Oct 2015 to Aug 2016
Total Square Feet: 35,000
Site: 6 Acres.
Number of Buildings: One; 17 classrooms, seating 562; auditorium, seating 123.
Building Sizes: First floor, 35,000; total, 35,000 square feet.
Building Height: First floor, 21’4”; total, 21’4”.
Basic Construction Type: New/II B.
Foundation: Cast-in-place, reinforced concrete, slab-on-grade.
Exterior Walls: CMU, curtain wall, manufactured stone.
Interior Walls: CMU, metal stud drywall.