Charles R. Drew Charter School & YMCA Building
State-of-the-Art Charter Education
With a planned full-time enrollment of over 800 students in grades K-8, this two-story, 104,985 SF elementary school shares facilities with the 60,000 SF East Lake YMCA composed in a uniform expression for both facilities. This award-winning project was the first charter school in the Atlanta school system. It contains twenty-eight classrooms, a media center, a kitchen/cafetorium, laboratories (for science, art and reading), band rooms, music training rooms, and administrative offices.
A key component to the overall concept of the school was an abundance of natural light. This was accomplished by designing a U-shaped, two-story building with classroom wings that surround a beautifully landscaped courtyard. Long bands of windows in these areas create a strong horizontal rhythm along the façade while allowing natural daylight to be an important part of the classroom experience. The large glass walls that help define the main entry and media center also allow controlled light to enliven the focal point of the school.
The entry lobby/media center with its sloping glass walls and heavy timber construction is the featured interior design element of the project, serving as a common link with the adjacent classroom wings.