Project Type: New
Construction Cost: $34M
Size: 123,000 SF
West Bristol School
After a series of studies, Bristol Public Schools reconfigured its grade structure to K-8, 9-12. Initially the city hoped to build one new K-8 school and renovate two elementary schools, but cost implications ultimately led to a plan for two new schools.
West Bristol School is located on a 26-acre site of a dormant farm. A significant challenge was to “choreograph” the circulation to control the confluence of the younger and older student bodies. The radial plan with self-sufficient wings separates each “school” while interaction can be planned in spaces like the lobby, library and cafeteria. Panels with specific graphics associated with either the middle or elementary school aid in wayfinding.
The design includes classroom space for 100 students per grade and offers flexibility in the gym, media center and cafeteria to support a variety of academic and community functions. The cafeteria is “zoned” with moveable panels that subtly separate the elementary and middle school populations. Outdoor seating and perching stones provide gathering space. Break-out spaces are “carved-out” in the corridors with accent lighting, canopies, “sitting islands” on the floors and translucent marker boards for small group assembly. Large murals relate historical information about Bristol and Connecticut.
The West Bristol School is designed to the LEED Silver standard and employs a wide variety of sustainable strategies including elements in the site design, building architecture and materials as well as strategies for the mechanical and electric systems. Features in the site design include designated parking with rechargeable bollards for low emitting and fuel-efficient vehicles, as well as additional designated parking for car pool vehicles.
The site is designed with 67% open space, promoting bio-diversity and minimizing the impact of the building and site features within the landscape. The stormwater management plan on site is designed to capture 100% of the run-off from the site for a 100-year flood, minimizing volume and pollutant impacts on adjacent neighborhoods and the municipal storm sewer system. The project was completed in 2012.
In 2013, the team (DRA as designer and Gilbane Building Company as contractor), received First Place in the category of Project Team Award for K-12 Schools at the Connecticut Building Congress annual awards.
“I spoke honestly when I said that I have been impressed since the beginning of the project with your firm, our interactions, your decisions and commitment to our project.”