Education Projects

Topeka Center for Advanced Learning & Careers, Topeka, Kan.

To support an innovative program in profession-based learning, Topeka Public Schools repurposed the former Capital City High School into the Topeka Center for Advanced Learning & Careers (TCALC).

RETROFIT TEAM

  • ARCHITECT OF RECORD, DESIGN, CONSTRUCTION DOCUMENTS, CONSTRUCTION ADMINISTRATION: Architect One, Topeka
  • VISIONING, PROGRAMMING, DESIGN: DLR Group, Overland Park, Kan.
  • GENERAL CONTRACTOR: KBS Constructors Inc., Topeka
  • METAL PANEL INSTALLER: Meridian Roofing Solutions, Topeka
  • MECHANICAL: Central Mechanical, Topeka
  • CEILING INSTALLER: Drywall Aesthetics Inc., Topeka, (785) 224-9625
  • FLOORING: Commercial Floorworks, Overland Park, (913) 402-4788

MATERIALS

The scope of work encompassed improvements to approximately 71,200 square feet of space, including facility master planning, interior demolition, construction, new finishes, and new furnishings and fixtures throughout.

The following materials were used in the renovation:

THE RETROFIT

To support an innovative program in profession-based learning, Topeka Public Schools repurposed the former Capital City High School into the Topeka Center for Advanced Learning & Careers (TCALC). DLR Group’s design for the renovations and additions focused on transforming the existing facility’s image into a professional work and learning environment with highly interactive, creative and technology-laden spaces. The renovated building provides new classroom, lab, research and collaboration venues that reflect those found in high-end workplaces.

The existing gymnasium was transformed into the social commons that incorporates a learning stair and introduces daylight through new clerestories.

The existing facility was originally part of the Kansas State Hospital system built in the early 1960s. Designed to serve as a clinical and research center for mental sciences, the existing building was underwhelming in character. The nature of the operations prohibited the use of windows. In 1981, the facility was converted to an education and activity center for the Topeka School District with a major addition, providing additional classrooms, a gymnasium and library. The addition incorporated one narrow window per classroom with masonry walls that provided minimal thermal comfort.

Design goals for the new TCALC facility included providing additional daylight to all spaces and allowing light to penetrate deep into the building, maximizing the use of the existing larger volumes to support the programmatic elements and transforming the building image to reinforce the mission of a professional learning environment.

Strategic additions along the south side of the building that feature larger volumes created opportunities to improve the building scale and image along with the ability to reflect daylight deep into the space with the use of an aluminum-finned shade structure. The existing gymnasium was transformed into the social commons that incorporates a learning stair and introduces daylight through new clerestories while the library was converted to a large-format presentation space.

TCALC’s program relies on strong partnerships with business, industry and post-secondary institutions. Students engage in real project work for real businesses while receiving high school and college credit. Areas of study include engineering/advanced manufacturing, energy/ environment, bioscience/biomedical, business, health/human services, teaching and design thinking/innovation.

PHOTOS: Michael Robinson Photography, courtesy DLR Group

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