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The new Gilson Middle School will be built at the same location of the existing George H. Gilson Junior High School, which will be demolished. An existing Wood Shops building will be demolished and wood working classes will be relocated within the new Middle School’s Career & Technical Education space.
Also, the existing Bus Barn Maintenance Shop will be demolished. The site will be regraded so that the floor elevation of the new School is as close to the existing High School floor level as possible, while still providing proper water drainage. The existing football field and track will be renovated and improved at its approximate current elevation and location.
The new 56,125 square foot, one-story tall Middle School has an occupancy of Group E, Educational, and is Construction Type II-B with automatic sprinklers throughout.
The key components of the design were formulated during the creation of the Educational Specifications which evolved through a series of planning labs lead by our consultant, DeJong-Ritcher. The planning labs were held with broad-based representation from the Valdez schools, as well as community members, parents, teachers, school administrators and students.
The project was designed within the following parameters:a. The school will accommodate approximately 160 students.b. The gross square footage of the new school is defined by Alaska Statute 4 AAC 31.020 and is based on an agreement with the State of Alaska D.E.E.D. for the replacement of the existing Valdez Junior High School.c. The new school will be constructed on the existing combined Valdez Junior High and High School site, with the existing High School to remain in operation during the construction of the new Middle School.
Project Goals guiding the design process:1. Clear Identity2. Safe and Inviting3. Adaptable4. Flexible5. Durable, Maintainable Materials and Systems6. Energy Efficient7. Provide Community Use/Accommodate Public Needs
1. A Welcome Center/Administration Space: Principal’s Office; Reception/Secretarial Area; In-School Suspension room; Conference Room; Cot Room; Mail/Work/Copy Room/Kitchenette; Restrooms; and Administrative Storage. 2. The Core Academic Neighborhood: Learning Commons space (Information Center/Library, Project Area/Business Center, Presentation/Event area, and Kitchenette adjacent to cafeteria and event space); Learning Labs/Classrooms (labs and classrooms; Wet Flex, Science and Math Labs); Career and Tech Ed; Teacher/Paraprofessional Planning Area; Small Group/Conference/Tutor room; Counselor’s Office; Special Ed Classroom; Cool Down Room; Kiln; and storage spaces. 3. Physical Education provides a Gym; Mat Room; Fitness Room/Multipurpose Room; PE Office; Coaches/Officials Locker Rooms; Student Shower/Locker Rooms; Laundry; Concession Stand/Student Store; and Storage. 4. Food Service: Serving Area; Warming Kitchen; Dry Food Storage; Cooler/Freezer; Washing space; Kitchen Manager’s Office; and staff Lockers.