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Road Map for K-12 Education

Case Study: The Wheeler School Summer, 2020 V.1.0


Case Study: The Wheeler School Authors / Summer - 2020 Brad Rogers Planning and Strategies Senior Consultant

The Wheeler School is an independent nurserygrade 12 school located in Providence, Rhode Island with an auxiliary campus (the “Farm�) in Seekonk, Massachusetts. They are faced with the challenge of how to safely open in the fall without compromising their unique academic program and learning environment. Complicating the situation further, Wheeler had just completed a new master plan for their facilities last year and recently overhauled their academic schedule. This now raises questions of how to work towards their long-term vision and new schedule while also meeting nearterm public health requirements.

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Case Study: The Wheeler School

The Process

Step 01 ―Understanding the capacity We started by assessing the teaching capacity of the current facilities. We created multiple layouts for each room with varying degrees of physical distancing. These informed a database showing each room’s existing capacity and the proposed capacity for each distancing scenario. With this data in hand, we could model the desk capacity for each division, building, and room in each scenario. Takeaway for Schools: Create layouts of each room with physical distancing to assess your facility’s teaching capacity.

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The Process

Step 02 ―Understanding the demand It was critical to establish an accurate estimate of the amount of teaching space needed, i.e. how many students need to be in each type of class at a given time. Wheeler has a complex eight-day rotating schedule and decided early on that the goal was to maintain the current schedule as much as possible. We identified the peak times in the schedule when all three divisions were in class at the same time, representing the maximum demand for classroom space. We knew that if we planned for this maximum load, that the facility could accommodate the remainder of the schedule. Takeaway for Schools: Consider your academic program when assessing how much space you really need. Assess what the actual demand is before deciding on a direction for retrofits and academic changes.

Step 03 ―Capture additional space Once we understood the shortfall, we identified spaces that could be repurposed to create more teaching space. Repurposed spaces included conference rooms, theater and assembly spaces, library space, and specialty rooms, which were then laid out as general classrooms. Takeaway for Schools: Identify spaces that can be converted to increase classroom capacity.

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Step 04 ―Shift demand offsite We worked with Wheeler to develop scenarios for programs that could be relocated to their Farm campus to relieve the pressure on the Providence campus. Wheeler previously had long-term plans to create an early learning center on the Farm campus, so the return to school plan involved moving some of the younger grades to the Farm this year. Takeaway for Schools: You may be able to use this challenging time as an opportunity to expedite your long-term strategic direction.

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9 134.5

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A

27' - 0"

12' - 0"

10' - 0"

SCOREBOARD

27' - 0"

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6TH GRADE TEMP CLASSROOM 03

6TH GRADE TEMP CLASSROOM 04 807 SF

30' - 0"

810 SF

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6TH GRADE TEMP CLASSROOM 02

FARM SWING SPACE 965 SF

810 SF

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Below: Temporary classroom configuration within the Wheeler School’s existing Field House

36' - 0"

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810 SF

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SCOREBOARD

12'-1"

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SEMINAR ROOM 20'-0"

645 SF

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15'-10"

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GYMNASIUM 134

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12' - 11 1/2"

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VESTIBULE

VESTIBULE 120

121

SHOWER'S TOILET'S

SHOWER'S TOILET'S

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MECHANICAL ROOM

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HAIR

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REFRIGERATOR

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ROOM TEAM 3

110

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HAIR

HAIR

6' MARKERBOARD

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8 6' MARKERBOARD

HAIR

MEN'S LOCKER'S

HAIR

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HAIR

WOMEN'S LOCKER'S

6' MARKERBOARD

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123'-0"

TRAINING

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FARM FIELD HOUSE - OVERALL FLOOR PLAN 3/64" = 1'-0"

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ROOM TEAM 4 HAIR

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6' MARKERBOARD

ROOM TEAM 1

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6' MARKERBOARD

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44'-0"

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HAIR

20'-8"

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23'-8"

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ROOM TEAM 2

HAND

110

122

JANITOR

HAIR

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HAND

HAND

SHOWER'S TOILET'S

107

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HAND

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SHOWER'S TOILET'S

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WHIRLPOOL 128A

128 2

9'-4"

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LOCKER COACH'S RM. 127

FARM FIELD HOUSE - ENLARGED FLOOR PLAN 3/16" = 1'-0"

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TEMPORARY CLASSROOM PLANS

STORAGE 126

ELECTRIC ROOM 125

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125.1 123.1 ENTRY VESTIBULE

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VESTIBULE

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HAND

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113 VESTIBULE

RECEPTION

ENTRY VESTIBULE

103

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ELECTRIC ROOM

STORAGE

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103A

55'-0"

128A

124

FINISH FLOOR EL. 95'-0"

CLOSET

MEN'S TOILET

LOCKER COACH'S RM.

WHIRLPOOL

128.2

CORRIDOR

102

125.2

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ENTRY LOBBY

128.1

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ICE MACH.

104

126

TRAINING

TRAINING OFFICE

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HAND

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WOMEN'S TOILET

34'-4"

LOCKER COACH'S RM.

STORAGE

CONTROL HAND

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STORAGE 133

126

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6' MARKERBOARD

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Case Study: The Wheeler School

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Key Conditions and Challenges Wheeler is fortunate to have an auxiliary site at the Farm. However, the extra land only helps if the facilities can be ready in time for school to open, which is a tall order even for modular classrooms. Modular classroom buildings require permitting, utility connections, and site and landscape work before they can be delivered and installed. Takeaway for Schools: Consider the lead times associated with additions or retrofits if you are planning to open in the Fall.

Planning around rapidly evolving regulations proved challenging. We spent much of our effort trying to identify ways to accommodate large classes, only to find that when the state eventually published its guidelines for reopening (weeks after we developed our initial plan) that classrooms would be limited to no more than 10 students. Takeaway for Schools: Your plans must be flexible to adapt to changing regulations.

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Case Study: The Wheeler School

Reopening schools this year presents a significant challenge ― and we are solving the problem in real-time with Wheeler.

We recognize that the situation will continue to evolve, but we feel that our holistic approach positions the school to be as prepared as possible to open in the fall.

Get in touch →

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We are here to assist you in your return to school. For more information, please contact: K12Education@perkinswill.com

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Road Map for K-12 Education - Case Study: The Wheeler School  

Road Map for K-12 Education - Case Study: The Wheeler School  

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