Spring Break 2012 – Volume 12 Number 3

Chandler School Dedicates

New South Campus

The final weeks of the summer break were abuzz with activity as the contractor pushed to finish the new South Campus ahead of schedule. The removal of the temporary trailer classrooms, which housed the Middle School during construction, made the goal ever more urgent. But the long hours and working to the very last minute proved successful.

(Above) New Middle School Building design by Pica + Sullivan Architects, Ltd. Photographs courtesy of Chandler School

A month after settling in, Chandler School co-founder Katie Chandler and Pasadena Mayor Bill Bogaard joined with students, faculty and guests to celebrate Founders’ Day and dedicate their new South Campus. There was plenty of applause, good cheer and even laughter as co-founder Chandler and Trustee Rick Dickerson were handed enormous scissors to cut the thick green ribbon.

The dedication took place early in the morning, but the celebration continued throughout the day. A plane towing a banner reading “Chandler School South Campus” circled overhead at noon, prompting cheers from students gathered outside for lunch and recess. As if on cue, down came the caution tape protecting the new sod field, and students spilled onto the turf in a spontaneous burst of joyful energy.

Designed by Southern California-based Pica + Sullivan Architects, the centerpiece of the new $10.5 million South Campus is a state-of-the-art Middle School, complete with multiple science labs, music and art rooms, a performing arts facility, a library and media center, offices and, of course, classrooms.

In addition to the new 28,500 square-ft Middle School building, the development features a campus commons, a hardscape athletic court, a renovated playfield and the expansion and remodel of the existing gymnasium. A new 63-car parking garage and elevator tower is slated for the second phase of construction.

The general contractor for the South Campus project was Los Angeles-based Illig Construction Company. Burbank-based Gangi Development provided project management services.

The new Middle School building, perched above the famed Rose Bowl, is styled to complement the adjacent, historic Craftsman neighborhood. The design features a stone base, deep veranda-like arcades, heavy timber-style trellises and a slate-covered roof. Although scaled and crafted to fit with the adjacent shingle-clad archetype, the new building is, in fact, steel-framed, highly fire-resistant and incorporating state-of- the-art fire-life safety elements. The project is also slated to receive Silver LEED certification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) for its numerous sustainability features.

Library Hosts The Middle School Learning Lab

The new Middle School building boasts twelve humanities classrooms one for each faculty member. There are also a variety of specialty teaching spaces, including three science labs to accommodate grade-specific studies. In the past, the sixth, seventh and eighth grades shared lab space and were forced to adapt their curriculum to prevent overlapping. The new facility allows each science teacher to take ownership of their space, create and maintain longer term demonstration models, and ultimately facilitate the project based approach to science education.

The new performing arts program is centered on the Jeff Han Music Room and the Ahmanson Foundation Performing Arts Center. Designed to strengthen the music curriculum, these rooms not only address the broader space requirement, but enhance the listening experience.

For instance, with a high quality sound system and significant acoustical treatment in the music room, students can distinguish the different elements in a selection. Syncopated lyrics, nuanced orchestral sounds, and less familiar timbres, come through with sparkling clarity. The room itself is fashioned and shaped to expose students to all the moving parts in a musical piece, a feat achieved with the help of Morro Bay-based acoustical consultant Dohn and Associates.

Since the music room is a shared space, features were included to facilitate a smooth transition between classes. These include sliding white boards, ample storage for several new MIDI keyboards and easy access to supplies for quick setup. Furthermore, the uncomplicated operation of the built-in AV cart and screen make creating and using multi-media components attractive.

The new Ahmanson Foundation Performing Arts Center is enhanced with cutting edge visual and sound technologies. Designed for a variety of performance types, the facility can stage productions, concerts and multimedia presentations. The audio-visual technology is integrated seamlessly into the room architecture. It includes multiple mounted projectors, automatic screens and a 32-track sound mixer. Designed by North Hills-based theater consultant JK Design Group, the space also includes advanced lighting capabilities with built-in flexibility to address changing needs.

The Middle School also houses the new S. Allan Johnson and Marguerite L. Johnson Library and Media Center. The new 2,000 square-ft facility was specifically designed to accommodate the library skills curriculum; preparing the students to make the most of the library as a modern resource. The facility, developed with the assistance of noted library planner Linda Demmers, hosts the Middle School Learning Lab.

This popular campus resource offers a unique approach to individualized academic support. Each student is encouraged to maintain ownership of their education by developing study skills pertaining to organization, time management, responsibility, comprehension and content understanding.

The new Chandler Middle School and South Campus maximizes student engagement and promotes the integration of current and future technologies into the learning process. Eighth grade science teacher Paul Korn summed up his impression of the new South Campus in two words: “It’s awesome.”

(Below) The new Middle School Science Labs allow each teacher to take ownership of their space, create and maintain longer term demonstration models, and ultimately facilitate the project based approach to science education. Photograph courtesy of Chandler School.