AISD holds design charettes for future ag center

Attendees discuss the layout of the future Ag Center

Attendees discuss the layout of the future Ag Center

Nov. 5, 2015 - The AISD hosted a second design charette yesterday for the future districtwide agriculture center, which will be funded by the 2014 Bond package. The architects for the project from VLK led two brainstorming sessions with AISD faculty, students and parents to help develop the future facility.

At the beginning of the first session on Oct. 26, AISD superintendent Dr. Marcelo Cavazos welcomed and thanked the participants. “A facility is fantastic … but what happens inside is the most important,” he said. The process of developing the facility and ensuring that it matches and augments what needs to go on inside is undoubtedly challenging. But, Dr. Cavazos emphasized, this is a special, unique opportunity to build this facility from the ground up.

The majority of the participants were students, all FFA (Future Farmers of America) officers from Martin and Arlington High Schools, the two AISD high schools with ag programs. Sloan Harris, one of the VLK architects, told the students that the “process [the design charette] is meant to extract out your expertise … to plan and design a facility that is optimal.” The students are in the ag program right now and are currently raising and showing animals, so their experience and input is critical. “It is absolutely essential … that the users have that input,” added Cindy Powell, AISD chief financial officer, at the second charette.

After discussion of various ideas, designs and needs, all the participants were divided into three groups. Each group developed their ideal site plan on a large piece of paper that represented the lot and used game pieces that represented key elements like classrooms and pens. Each group then presented their designs and everyone voted on their favorites.

After the first charette, the architects took the two site plans with the most votes and used them to develop two concepts. The concepts sought to incorporate all the important elements, with space for administration, classrooms and labs, cattle, goats, rabbits, animal exercise, a service area and metal shop. The architects then presented the design concepts at the second charette and asked the participants to offer feedback and vote for their favorite.

The architects will now get back to work, further developing the design, taking into consideration the budget, along with comments from yesterday’s meeting. The building is scheduled to open in the fall of 2017.

[See photos from the two design charettes.]