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Tuesday, 24 April 2018

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Kaohsiung American School Celebrates Grand Opening of Farrell Athletic Complex

By Carmen Peters


Kaohsiung American School Celebrates Grand Opening of Farrell Athletic Complex
This past fall saw the dedication of the Dr. Thomas H. Farrell Athletic Complex and Dining Hall, the final phase in realizing the seven-year vision of Kaohsiung American School (KAS) Superintendent, Thomas Farrell.

MAYU Architects+ came through with a beautiful design, incorporating natural light and a feeling of transparency, adding contrast and functionality with the combination of wood, concrete, and glass. The KAS Board of Directors contracted with construction and engineering companies, which began their work in June 2015. The complex was completed at the end of October 2016—earlier than expected and under budget!

The KAS complex provides the facilities to round out Phase One, the academic building that opened in April 2015. Now opportunities are in place for students to creatively pursue “balance in academics, athletics, and the arts,” one of the tenets of the KAS mission. Phase One saw the provision for academics with world-class science labs, state-of-the-art technology, spacious classrooms, acoustically designed music rooms, and a professional-standard theater.

Architects continued the marriage of two cultures in their design for Phase Two, with both a physical and a psychological focus. The theme of transparency runs throughout, with many opportunities for natural light and the concept of bringing people together. The soccer field, the swimming pool, and the gymnasium form the key components of the new facility.

A regulation-sized soccer field covered in high-quality artificial turf with cork infill forms the focal point for the outdoor space, which is complemented by two outdoor basketball courts. This type of infill was selected because it is healthier than the commonly used recycled rubber. It is also an excellent choice for a tropical climate because it doesn’t mold. Finally, it is in keeping with our LEED status as an environmentally friendly school.

The athletic complex lobby introduces users to the three primary building materials: concrete, wood, and glass. Partial walls overlook the swimming pool. The pool itself is recessed half underground, allowing for exterior windows at ground level along one length. KAS students range from PreK to Grade 12, hence the decision was made to incorporate a “floating” floor. On the same level, behind the pool are located a dance studio and a fitness center.

For the gymnasium, architects strayed from the traditional closed box approach to design a space with large glass partial walls along the exterior side. They are located at floor level, allowing a visual connection with the outdoor soccer field but positioned so as to avoid glare from the sunlight. The gymnasium is a full-size court with an electronically controlled center court curtain, providing for two cross-court games to be played simultaneously. Rounding out the athletic opportunities is a finished space on top of the dining hall. This dual-purpose space is designated for elementary-level physical education classes and a professional-level tennis court, made possible by a generous donation by one of our parents.

The other major segment of Phase Two is the dining hall, again featuring two exterior walls of glass looking out onto the soccer field, on one side, and onto the primary playground, on the other. The large dining space provides two serving lines, an à la carte section, and a snack bar.

Finally, adding to the state-of-the-art edifice is a technology infrastructure offering electronic control of operational features. Further, an appropriate atmosphere is enhanced by separate sound systems in the pool area, the gymnasium, the dance studio, the fitness center, and the dining hall.

This beautiful facility is now being enjoyed daily by the students at Kaohsiung American School. The dream is now a reality! Thank you Dr. Farrell and the KAS Board of Directors.

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