Herman Badillo/School #76, a bilingual elementary school on Buffalo’s West Side, is nearly ready to open, and the changes the school has undergone, including a new addition, are sure to thrill the returning staff and students.
Ray Bednarski, lead architect and vice president of Kideney Architects and Sharion Harvin, associate director of design with Kideney offshoot, Audubon Interiors, along with architect Dan Janak, led a tour through the completed interior of the school. Once a 3rd through 8th grade school, Badillo has expanded classes down to the pre-K level in combining with School #36, creating a need for more classrooms and parking for the approximately 900 students and additional faculty.
Harvin, who is responsible for the interior design said she picked the colors of Puerto Rico for the Spanish-speaking school, and that some teachers who’ve ventured in since the redo have been so overcome with the renovations that they’ve cried. Harvin went with hues of vibrant orange, aqua blue and a soft, palm green that repeat on the walls, floor tiles and lockers throughout the school.
Bednarski said that the exterior is meant to reflect the neighborhood architecture. In one slide in particular, the row of houses on West Street are adjacent to the sections of multi-colored brick of the new facade, and you’ll see that the addition does nicely mirror that look of rows of differently colored brick houses. The upward sweep of the new main lobby that replaces the use of four separate entrances, gives the school an almost futuristic edginess that signals the new, but works well with the old. A new concrete panel sign above the front entrance will read “Herman Badillo Bilingual Academy”.
Bednarski left the brick and stone of the old exterior visible on the inner walls of the new hallways. The large windows that once faced outside, now allow the students to see who’s passing by in the corridor, adding to the airiness of the big, bright classrooms. The transparency is refreshing and a nice change from stark wall space.
The addition houses a new, badly needed cafeteria, a beautiful spacious library and a never-before music room. Before everything is complete, a playground will be added on the school ground’s only remaining green space on the Elmwood side of the building, which should be a treat for the children as well as those passing by. The use of SmartBoards in the rooms eliminates the need for walls lined with blackboards and cork.
Kideney is the oldest architecture firm in the area, having started in Buffalo 83 years ago, and the firm has been involved in the renovation of several schools and buildings of great importance in Buffalo. See their impressive portfolio here.
The renovations and addition to Herman Badillo is part of Phase III of the reconstruction program by the Joint Schools Construction Board, Buffalo Public Schools, and LP Ciminelli, Inc. Kideney Architects is the Architect of Record in the design and construction of Herman Badillo. The project cost $19.5 million. As the video shows, construction and clean-up are currently being completed in advance of the start of the school year.