The new Lakeridge Middle and Oak Creek Elementary schools both recently received their certificate of occupancy, allowing for teachers and staff to move in for online class or limited in-person instruction.
The $187 million school bond approved by voters in 2017 called for a complete rebuild of Lakeridge MIddle School. The district certainly delivered.
The whole building was built with sustainability, accessibility and mental health in mind.
It's an all-electric building, which means it could be modified in the future to run entirely on solar power, has LED light fixtures and a plethora of "passive" systems that save energy. The energy saving systems include well-insulated walls, triple-pane glass windows and a passive cooling system.
All exterior doors are accessible via wheelchair. There's also an elevator and two restrooms that have a changing table and lift mechanism to accommodate all restroom needs in addition to the wheelchair-accessible restrooms throughout the building. Additionally, all classrooms and learning spaces are equipped with an AV system that allows for uniform sound throughout the room so students with hearing limitations don't have to sit in the front of the class.
The building was designed using the principles of biophilia, which is a concept that says one's well-being can be improved by connecting to nature.
The most noticeable applications of this concept are the whole tree columns — restored white oak trees from the original site, and use of green as an accent color throughout the building.
The building uses a lot of wood, a biophilic material that creates a connection in our brains between interior and exterior spaces. The design team took every opportunity to bring the outside in through well-placed windows. The building circles a courtyard that contains a small grassy knoll and large boulders excavated from the area during construction.
As of Thursday, Nov. 12, the interior of the building was receiving finishing touches and teachers had begun setting up their classrooms.
The construction team has begun demolishing the old Waluga building, soon to be parking for the new building.
Oak Creek Elementary School needed a new skin due to extensive water damage. The team was able to make more improvements to the interior than were originally anticipated.
The entire exterior of the building was replaced to prevent future water damage. The roof for the covered play area was replaced. The school also received a new boiler system, remodeled bathrooms, fresh paint, new lights and security features throughout the building.
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.