Open for more than five decades, the historical Walter Douglas Elementary School is receiving a campus renovation to provide a modern learning facility for it’s students. Built in 1963, the architecture utilizes thin-shell concrete roofs on the circular classroom pods. The roofs are dramatically fluted (like a clamshell) for structural stability, and for visual effect. Designed by Architect, John A Shaver, who was the driving force for modern architecture in school design, the school is significant because it’s a rare surviving example of thin-shell concrete construction and a unique example of the formal possibilities of this construction type.
The new design is intended to create a school image that excites students and potential students, to be a source of pride for the neighborhood and community and to reinforce FWUSD’s flight-based learning vision while preserving it’s historical roots. The new 40,000 sf, two-story classroom building will provide maker spaces, a media center, and a computer lab along with 24 new classrooms. The new school design will support FWUSD’s flight-based curriculum functionally and aesthetically. The new building elements will be reminiscent of aircraft construction by using lighter metal. The school will feature themed pathways like the “Flight of the Bumblebee Trail”, a “launch pad” that will provide a space for outdoor, flight-related experiments and lessons, a flight deck balcony, jet liner windows that can be closed with a hard, sliding shade, and a cock pit alcove that offers amazing views of the Catalina Mountains that gives students an understanding of what it’s really like to fly! The renovation also includes renovations to existing classroom pods, traffic improvements, and site upgrades.
…stay tuned for progress photos and videos!