As part of the strategic plan to create a high school ‘campus’ for Elkhart Community Schools (ECS), there was a need to expand program offerings at the Elkhart Area Career Center (EACC), a vocational school within ECS, to account for the increase in students and staff due to the merger of the two ECS high schools. Jones Petrie Rafinski (JPR), in partnership with Jamie Lake Architecture, worked with the school to accomplish this goal in tandem with the ongoing renovation work at Elkhart High School.
The EACC incorporated vocational programs for students within and outside ECS, clinical services for staff, and special programs for high-risk students with behavioral issues. All of these programs needed to be expanded within the same building footprint. In addition, the cafeteria and food preparation areas needed to roughly double in capacity to provide for the additional student population. There was extra focus on student/teacher interaction at the EACC and spaces needed to be designed accordingly.
To meet these needs a number of improvements were provided to the EACC. Informal lounge spaces with a variety of seating types, water bottle filling stations, and electronic charging stations were implemented in several locations with direct access to main circulation corridors. Additional exam rooms were added to the staff clinic to meet the needs of the larger staff population.
Classroom and lab spaces were relocated and rooms were repurposed to provide a more efficient use of space for vocational programs. JPR also helped incorporate a ‘bistro’ concept which created satellite food service zones throughout the campus with central cooking located at the main high school building.