Location: Virginia Beach, VA
The Old Donation School is located on a 13-acre urban site and is home to 1,375 gifted learners in grades 2-8. The RRMM Architects team was tasked with preparing educational specifications, studying various sites, designing the new facility, preparing documents for receiving construction bids and monitoring construction through to occupancy of the new facility. Beginning in 2011, over a dozen workshops and community meetings were held to gather input on the building design.
The architect-led building design follows the concept that was developed with the stakeholder’s group. It was identified that learning spaces needed to be differentiated and a need for presentation spaces were necessary. Corridors were designed as collaborative work areas while efficiently utilizing space. Small group “Think Tanks” were designed for independent group work and “Extended Learning” areas allow both primary and intermediate groups to work together. The 450 square foot outdoor classroom is located near the science labs and extended learning areas. The school integrates “Buildings that Teach” concepts—exposed building systems, exploratory signage, variety of exposed materials for investigation, interactive rainwater collection and more.
This project was designed to receive LEED Gold certification and aims to achieve ultra-low energy consumption through a variety of initiatives such as site placement, building forms, tight envelope, daylighting and an advanced hybrid HVAC.