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Williamsville-Sherman School District: Creating Continuity with Highly Functioning Learning Environments

After a successful community engagement initiative that resulted in a $40 million bond referendum to enhance district facilities, the Williamsville-Sherman School District unleashed a wave of transformative upgrades upon both its junior high and high schools. This project aimed to establish a harmonious blend of the new and existing structures, fostering highly functional learning environments that inspire the entire school community. Notably, the endeavor unified the entire site and introduced a welcoming new facade to the west.

In the expansion of the junior high to encompass grades 5-8, a dedicated 5th-grade wing was constructed to accommodate the growing student enrollment. This addition included five well-equipped learning spaces and a new unit office. Furthermore, enhancements such as new lockers and an upgraded junior high weight room, were implemented in the 6th-grade wing.

 

To address the increasing demand for fine arts and athletics programs, the project included the construction of a 600-seat multi-use theater, new band and choral areas, and a spacious 79,700 square-foot field house. Upgrades to athletic facilities involved the replacement of field lights, the addition of a press box, and a 1,000-seat grandstand at the existing football field and track.

  • High school renovations feature an expanded science and STEM labs, contributing to innovative, hands-on learning experiences.
  • Revitalization of current fine arts and dining areas included the incorporation of a new weight room and competitive gym space.
  • The addition of a new kitchen and commons area on the first floor allows for flexible seating and dining.
  • Thoughtful design establishes a clear and logical circulation pattern, improving wayfinding, ensuring security, and creating welcoming entrances.

As part of a broader school renovation initiative, the new auditorium was equipped with a full stage featuring overhead catwalks for lighting and rigging, facilitating setup without the need for ladders or lifts. This design enables students to actively engage with the technical aspects of their productions. The auditorium is equipped with LED lighting fixtures, moving lights, and followspots, all controlled by a computer console. Flexible seating arrangements, including a mix of fixed seats, benches, and two mobile telescoping seating units, enhance the space's versatility. The retractable forestage reveals a flexible area facing the common room, accessible through a horizontally lifted partition for performances and other events. Additionally, the adjustable forestage can be lowered to form a fully accessible orchestra pit.

"BLDD Architects was connected and engaged with us; they made sure we were satisfied and excited with the development process, actual construction and finished product...they were advocates for our school district," Superintendent Tip Reedy said. "They responded and listened to our requests and ideas to meet our district's needs, wants, and wishes and creatively developed a facility plan that will last generations to come."

 

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