Rochester Public Schools, ISD 535

Dakota Middle School

Fresh Take

Funding for Dakota Middle School, which was named by community members, was approved in a recent referendum, along with dollars for three new elementary schools. LHB partnered with the firm CRW, to complete designs for all four buildings.

The middle school structure is primarily load bearing precast exterior walls with an interior steel structure with precast plank elevated floors. We utilized a displacement ventilation mechanical system to provide 100% fresh air and eliminate the recirculation of contaminated air to occupants.

Design of the building started in early spring of 2020 and construction began January 2021.  LHB collaborated with Bolten & Menk for civil design, Meyer Borgman Johnson for structural design, and Rippe Associates for commercial kitchen design, while providing in-house architectural, interior design, mechanical, and electrical design.

Project Type New Construction
Location Rochester, MN
Completion Date August 2022
Size 175,866 SF
Features & Highlights Storm Shelter
Auditorium
Group Learning Areas
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Exterior Presence

Situated on the northwest edge of the current city development, the site offers vistas of farmland to the north and overlooks neighborhoods to the south. LHB helped from pre-referendum stages to determine an optimal location for the building to take advantage of existing development and natural surroundings. With the existing neighborhood across the street from the school, a tunnel will be added to 65th Street to separate pedestrians from vehicular traffic and connect the school to local bike trails. The exterior design strived to create a dramatic expression of entry using durable timeless materials.

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Interior Warmth

As you enter, you notice the materials from the exterior transition to the interior. Blending the line between inside and outside space. Providing ample natural daylight into commons and teaching spaces guided our decisions throughout the design process. Exposed edge maple plywood elements provide warmth to various spaces within the school. These plywood elements, used in multiple wall and ceiling applications, become a recognizable signature detail within the building.