Great Beginnings Early Education Center
Lee's Summit, MO
Arrowhead Services, Inc.
Architect: Contacts Without Company
Excellent educational programs are seldom the result of a building alone; however, through the cooperative efforts of a diverse group of participants the Great Beginnings Early Education Center was a natural. Spawned by a private donation, the Lee's Summit School District was challenged to provide a much needed new facility for Parents as Teachers and Early Childhood Education programs. The Community responded with matching funds, while the City formed a lease agreement to locate the building on park land.
Central to the facility is an entry lobby with clerestory windows, a spacious multi-purpose room, offices and therapy spaces. The Parents As Teachers program is to the north and contains thirty-six individual work stations for parent educators. To the south are twelve classrooms for the physically or developmentally delayed children accepted into the Early Childhood Program.
Aesthetics of the building were designed to blend into the park setting with use of a variety of human scale natural materials to create a warm inviting presence. Like the natural limestone monument signs announcing entry to the park, battered limestone columns adorn the building's wood trussed entry canopies. A tall curved wall of stack bond burnished block provides a monolithic backdrop for signage along with identifying and framing the main entrance.
Careful consideration in the selection of color and texture for the modular masonry units creates a subtle balance between the natural setting and the building's façade. The load bearing double wythe masonry walls grow from the ground with a rough textured wainscot of integrally colored split faced block. Tempering the harsh appearance are smooth eight inch square accents of burnished block placed randomly throughout the wainscot simulating the diversity of nature. A light colored burnished accent band provides transition from the rough textured base to the smooth field brick above as well as highlighting window and door openings. Standard modular field brick with a pattern of projected coursing and articulation of masonry control joints establish a measured rhythm that tie the various design elements together.
Thoughtful attention in the use of color, texture, natural stone, modular manufactured materials as well as varied coursing all harmoniously blend into the park setting providing an enriching educational environment.