Dater Montessori School Renovation
Cincinnati Public Schools
Largely unchanged since it was built, this building comprised the good–generous classrooms and circulation, abundant natural lighting–and bad–no insulation, no ADA accessibility, little room for up-to-date infrastructure–of early 1960’s schools. Specifically problematic for the client, it was not originally a Montessori school.
Now renovated to accommodate 650 elementary Montessori students, Dater is certified LEED Gold – a first for both a Cincinnati Public Schools building and for an Ohio School Facilities Commission renovation. Among its innovative features is a rain water recovery system utilizing water, collected from the extensive flat roof and stored in an existing tank, to flush fixtures in restrooms throughout the school.
Equal in importance to environmental responsibility is stewardship of the students and facilitation of Montessori teaching methods. Mentoring of students by students is important; thus, the classrooms are arranged in three communities: ages three to six, six to nine, and nine to twelve. Each community has a focal point in the form of a large, open multi-purpose space to further interaction between students and between students and staff. Articulation of the skylights and extension of the ribbon windows connect inside to outside, reinforcing our connection to the earth and the Montessori tenet that this is a crucial relationship.