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HTK was recently featured for outstanding design in the American School and University magazine for the 2015 Architectural Portfolio edition, due to our recent design of the Olathe School District’s Information Technology Support building. Our team had a unique and exciting opportunity to design a new facility for the Olathe School District that would showcase forward thinking and innovative work spaces for their technology department. Furthermore, the District wanted a facility that displayed a new and forward thinking architectural character that could become a new standard for future facilities throughout the District.
When our team began to work with the Olathe School District on the design of this new facility, their District IT department was split among 4 separate locations. As part of their efforts to bring more unity and forward thinking to the department, they wanted to consolidate their facilities into a single centralized facility on the main school district campus. They also wanted to provide for future expansion within the department to handle the projected maximum size of the school district. Our team listened carefully and developed multiple design options to provide a high profile facility that would meet District needs as well as reflect the innovative and technology driven function of the facility.
To house the entire IT department into one facility, the building was designed to include an administration suite, modern and open office space for IT staff, IT storage, computer repair and a hardened Operations Center to house the district’s main-frame server. Also, the school district wanted the facility to house Training spaces for District staff as well as a Video Production Studio to serve the entire district. This particular design component enables computer vendors to work with the IT staff on different mock-ups for computer labs and classroom configurations, allowing the School District to stay innovative and up to date with different methods of delivering curriculum. Throughout the design process, our team also worked to integrate natural lighting into the facility and create an open and collaborative working environment. With each design component our team focused on how they could unify the IT department within the district, create a facility that cultivated innovation, and display a high performance, modern building design.
For the exterior façade, our team worked to convey the high level of technology within the facility with an architectural character through the use of a modern technology, high performance exterior “rain-screen” system skin design. To further play on the facility’s focus on technology, the design of the exterior building elevations incorporated a design feature that emulated a historical data entry keypunch card to imitate the computer language from the 1970’s. The design feature consisted of metal panels on the Southeast corner of the facility that illustrated the same pattern of rows and columns of a keypunch card through recessed panels mimicking the punched openings. This design creates the phrase “Olathe Public Schools” in the historical binary code keypunch card language, adding a unique and personal style to the building appearance.
The design of the Olathe Technology Support Center gave our architects the opportunity to create a facility that represented both the history and the future of technology while setting the stage for District building design components that will be carried on to future facilities throughout the District. Rita Lyon, Executive Director of Technology for Olathe Public Schools, said our team delivered “a workspace that has that wow-factor while still being functional and extremely practical for years to come.” Lyon further stated, “We highly recommend this Architecture firm for projects of any scope. They have exceeded our expectations in their ability to work collaboratively and efficiently and have provided our community with a beautiful, outstanding facility.”
We thank the Olathe School District for the privilege and opportunity to design the Olathe Technology Support Center.