Martin Luther King Jr.
While completing the phased replacement of Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School, phase five was added to provide the community preschoolers an opportunity to enter a custom tailored early childhood learning environment. Richmond Public Schools asked BCWH to create a new standalone building and supportive site uniquely suited to the younger children. The new Pre-Kindergarten building accommodates 260 students ages 3-5 years old. The facility includes 13 classrooms, flexible common space learning areas, a multi-purpose room, associated administration spaces and approximately 10,000 square feet of outdoor learning and play spaces. The design of the learning spaces provides a fun place for the little ones and supports interaction between teachers for a collaborative approach to preparing the kids. Interconnected classrooms go further to support socialization so critical to the development of these children. The spaces are scaled to smaller students and the colors and shapes of the places are engaging and appropriately stimulating. The students’ main entry is brightened by balloon-like lamps “floating” in the space. Even the exterior of the building reaches out to engage the student with bright colors and playful activities. The placement of the Pre-K program at the middle school site provided efficiency and value by sharing food service and direct delivery to the Pre-K classrooms and commons. The new center achieved LEED Silver Certification. With the competition of this new pre-school building on the Middle School site, the City’s Head Start and the Virginia Preschool Initiative program can return and better serve its community.