Richard E. Miller Elementary School

Education

Richard E. Miller Elementary School

Phoenix, Arizona

A successful educational facility serves the campus instructional and security needs so every child and adult can reach their potential.

Built in 1961, the original school campus consisted of four buildings surrounding a green courtyard. Since then, 13 portable classroom buildings were added to accommodate student population growth. As parking became inadequate, the school leased parking space from the nearby church. By 2016, the inner-city school site had become crowded and boxed-in with hampered circulation, student drop-off/pick-up queuing lanes were insufficient and unsafe, and campus security was inadequate.

EMC2 worked with the Washington Elementary School District to identify needs and wants to align with the $6.2 million budget.

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As a result of visioning sessions, the following goals drove the design to improve safety, security, and function:

  • Replace portable buildings with permanent construction.
  • Improve campus identity, security, site circulation, and parking.
  • Enlarge administrative and cafeteria spaces.
  • Renovate classroom and media buildings.
  • Provide for on-site stormwater retention while maintaining existing play areas.
  • Modernize the campus fire-alarm system.
  • Comply with ADA requirements.

Campus Renovations Streamline Movement

The updated site design introduces a long, curving drop-off/pick-up lane stretching the total length of the site, which also serves as a fire access lane. Parking was optimized, allowing the District to terminate their lease with the church. Curvilinear forms create a sense of cascading flow as students, staff, and visitors move deeper into the site. There are new play areas for all ages and convenient playground restroom facilities that round out the campus.

The new construction provided instructional spaces for physical education, music, band, and art as well as after-school Kid’s Space and pre-school Headstart programs. Renovated classrooms received new carpet, paint, and acoustical ceilings, and new millwork provides uniformity across all teaching spaces. Staff and student restrooms were all brought into ADA compliance and received new tile finishes and partitions.

Administration Areas See Improved Safety & Efficiency

Sharing the same building with the cafetorium, the administrative offices lacked adequate work and conferencing space, nurse facilities, staff workroom, and toilets. The main reception area was undersized and did not adequately secure the campus. The addition and remodel captured essential space and improved campus security while enhancing school identity and visibility of the entrance.

The existing cafetorium was the smallest in the District and the integrated stage was not ADA accessible. Both issues were resolved by relocating the stage to the adjacent wall and expanding the dining area in its place. A new curtain and theatrical lighting enhance the modernized, accessible stage.

The dated library/media center building now has new carpet, paint, and acoustical ceilings. Non-ADA accessible millwork and the Librarian’s desk were replaced, and the workroom was remodeled to provide improved, accessible staff toilets.