Design of A.L. Brown's STEM Academy up for an award
By Sarah Campbell
KANNAPOLIS – The Kannapolis City Board of Education voted unanimously Monday during a special meeting to endorse the district’s entry into the North Carolina School Board Association’s annual architectural design contest.
Will Crabtree, the district’s director of business operations, said architect Rob Johnson approached him about submitting the plans for the new STEM Academy housed at A.L. Brown High School. STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.
Johnson designed the nearly 50,000 square-foot facility, which mimics the Core Lab Building at the North Carolina Research Campus. It opened to students last fall.
Crabtree said the building has several features, including a dome similar to the one that rests on top of the Core Lab Building, that make it eye-catching.
“The dome really makes it stand out,” he said. “We are keeping with the whole Kannapolis theme of traditional architecture. You don’t necessarily see a lot of that now in big school construction, so I think that also makes it unique.”
The academy also has geometric-shaped windows, surrounded by stonework.
“Most schools today don’t have that kind of detail,” Crabtree said.
Johnson, who has also designed schools in Rowan and Cabarrus counties, offered to handle the entry, which includes creating an electronic display with text and graphics describing the project and crafting a project display board to exhibit during the N.C. School Board Association’s annual conference in Greensboro.
Johnson will also cover the $200 entry fee.
Board chairwoman Danita Rickard said there’s nothing to lose by entering the contest.
“It’s good publicity for the system and of course for his firm,” she said. The winner will be selected through a people’s choice format by those who attend the conference.
The goal of the award is to raise awareness and discussion among board members about the relationship between good design and effective teaching and learning.
Contact reporter Sarah Campbell at 704-797-7683.