Ft. Zumwalt ECC
Converting Existing Centers to State-of-the-Art Facilities
The project consisted of repurposing a failed Culinary Institute into a consolidated Earl Childhood Education Center for a large suburban school district to the northeast of St. Louis. Because the existing building had large amounts of industrial finish kitchen areas that would require cost-intensive renovation, and because the building did not have distribution of plumbing requisite to an early childhood facility, very demanding choices relative to cost saving opportunities were the norm.
As a consequence, new wall construction was limited, primarily to new restrooms distributed throughout the classroom areas of the building and to a new storm shelter in the building's basement. Then, durable splashes of bright color were added to the building interior to enliven the core area of the building which is inaccessible to daylight. New lighting throughout the building and careful attention to classroom function have resulted in an airy, open feeling to support the children that the facility houses. All food delivery to students happens in classrooms, which could provide helpful in the safe delivery of meals to children during health crisis such as the coronavirus pandemic.