GWWO recently worked with Harford County Public Schools to design a new 100,000-SF school to serve the Bel Air area. Designed to accommodate 676 elementary students, the new facility eases enrollment pressures as the area experiences expansion associated with BRAC. The new school serves residents representing a wide range of economic, educational and cultural diversity. GWWO worked closely with HCPS and parent and community groups to incorporate the needs of an interested and involved population so that the new school provides all students with the best educational opportunities possible.
The design of the new school centers around a common circulation spine that is easily accessible from all areas of the school and provides excellent supervision from the centrally located administrative spaces. Similar program elements are grouped in each of the three wings to take advantage of the topography of the site which includes considerable change in grade as well as offering greater flexibility for educational uses.
Another significant design concern was the desire to provide facilities for shared community use, including both recreational and cultural functions. Access to these spaces—including the gymnasium, cafeteria and media center—is from the main entry on Vale Road and offers convenience for community members while providing a layer of security for students and staff.
Designed to be a prototype school, the new school will be implemented on at least one other site within the County.
Location: Bel Air, MD, US
My Role: Architect
Additional Credits: Alan Reed, Design Principal
Terry Squyres, Principal-in-Charge
Brian Eschman, Project Manager