RSAA: Looking For A Home

What is now known as the Richland School of Academic Arts (RSAA) began it's existence in 2010 in the Richland Academy located in downtown Mansfield. The facility served them well for several years, but with growing enrollment, it was time to look for a new home. The school had engaged another local architect to provide them with some evaluations on a couple of different buildings in town. Not quite satisfied with the results of those evaluations, they came to us to re-evaluate two of the buildings and look at two additional ones that had come to their attention as potential candidates for their new home. Being the "young" upstart firm in town, there was little confidence from the board that we could do the job. Thankfully, we had a champion on the board who was head of the building search committee. We had worked with him previously on other jobs and he had every confidence in our ability to perform the task.

We took multi-prong approach to the evaluation of each building. Looking not only at it's physical condition, but it's viability as a future home of the school, the potential costs of renovations, and the appropriateness of existing Plumbing, HVAC, and Electrical systems in the buildings.

All of the four buildings had pretty good bones. Some were better kept than others. But none of them presented significant structural challenges.

In determining each buildings viability, we worked closely with the client to develop a preliminary program and adjaceny requirements. We then applied that program to each of the four buildings to see what would fit in the existing space, how much renovation would be required, and how much of an addition would be required.

We also hired an engineer to evaluate the building systems.

Each building presented unique challenges. Some would require a substantial addition. Some required significant upgrades to the building systems. Some would have presented significant challenges to code compliance.

Without going into too much detail with regards to our findings, suffice it to say, none of the buildings were quite up to snuff. So the search continued...

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