New studies have shown that smaller schools have a bigger success rate than traditionally larger schools. The Phoenix Union High School District (PUHSD) found the same fact to be true, with two smaller schools existing in the district. The PUHSD Coding Academy is a specialized school dedicated to computer coding for up to 400 students.

In line with much of what our magazine is trying to promote, the Phoenix Coding Academy encourages students to learn in a different way. It focuses on collaboration and curiosity, and teaches students the rope of technology development in a real-world, project-based style of curriculum. It’s intended to provide an environment for 400 high school age students.

The project site was small and centered in an urban area. ADM Group, Inc. collaborated with CORE Construction to erect this LEED® Gold building. According to the EverBlue training website, LEED is “an internationally recognized green building certification system.” This is a third-party process that verifies that the building was constructed with strategies that reduce the use of water, promoting a better quality of air indoor or quality of life. This is the first building in the PUHSD to be gold by LEED® standards.

The Phoenix Coding Academy is a two-floor, 16-classroom facility with a high-efficiency rooftop package, and solar power throughout manages the amount of light that is used in the building. ADM Group, Inc. set the standard for sustainable design of the PUHSD District’s commitment to environmental, economic and social stewardship, according to Everett Pleasant of Stone Cold Masonry.

CORE Construction collaborated with A.V. Schwan, the Structural Consultant on the project to construct the academy. The building has a high-efficiency rooftop that’s equipped with economizers and demand control ventilation and CO2 monitoring. This controlled by the building management system inside the building.

All the windows are equipped with solar sensors, to regulate the amount of LED lighting that is used in the school. Once levels are reached, shades roll down to block the natural light coming from the windows. This green strategy maximizes the natural sunlight outside without using energy inside unless it’s needed.

The Phoenix Coding Academy is fully self-contained, with its own administrative offices, state-of-the art classrooms and a full-service kitchen. The vision for this project was to make it a teaching tool, so the WOW Kiosk and monitoring system by Powersmiths was introduced. This kiosk can be used to pull up data on the school and is located in the lobby for everyone to use.

Made of Oldcastle Superlite, the Academy features contrasting materials to create a vivid, modern, and inspired looking design. Large windows, metal facades, and block all play together on the exterior of the building. Inside, bright paint colors combine with unique light and window fixtures to brighten up the neutral tones of the block.

The Academy is not only providing a unique learning experience for students, but is also a Merit Award Winner in the 25th Annual Excellence In Masonry Architectural Awards from the Arizona Masonry Guild.

Words: Masonry Magazine Staff
Photos: Stone Cold Masonry