GVSA Helps Amana Academy Launch West Atlanta Campus
Goode Van Slyke Architecture is helping Amana Academy, an Atlanta-area charter school, launch its newest campus – Amana Academy West Atlanta. Amana announced plans for the new school, to be built at the Girl Scouts' Camp Timber Ridge, earlier this year.
GVSA’s work for the West Atlanta campus started three years ago when it began helping Amana investigate possible locations. This included evaluating existing buildings as well as undeveloped land. Once Camp Timber Ridge was chosen, the firm worked to mesh Amana’s long-term strategy with that of the Girl Scouts’ 270-acre site. It is also working to locate structures for immediate move-in this fall while accommodating expected growth.
Both the original Amana Academy North Fulton in Alpharetta and the new Amana Academy West Atlanta in Mableton are public, tuition-free, STEM-themed charter schools. Each uses the Harvard-based EL Education model, which emphasizes critical thinking and active engagement.
Ehab Jaleel, Amana’s Executive Director, says Goode Van Slyke fully understands the school’s unique educational approach to teaching and learning. He added that the diversity of the firm’s team reflects the diversity of the charter school’s faculty and student body.
“There’s clear alignment with our philosophy for innovation and education and how to create spaces and features in the architecture that match that approach,” Jaleel said. “They are eager to understand what we’re looking for and then they come back with creative solutions. That kind of temperament is very easy to work with.”
The firm’s relationship with Amana Academy began more than a decade ago when it developed the flagship school’s master plan and renovated what was formerly a big-box retail space into its middle school. Its many individual projects since then included redesigning the overall cafeteria and lobby. The cafeteria now doubles as an open, welcoming assembly space and the new lobby includes aspects of a community art gallery showcasing student work. Additional projects are also underway.
Jaleel says GVSA has been his “right hand” for both campuses. “Charter schools are very lean in terms of their resources,” Jaleel added. “We’re looking for not just architects but consultants. GVSA doesn’t shy away from wearing different hats – taking on different roles we need and being flexible with us.”
“Amana has become more of a mission/heart-based pursuit for GVSA versus a business pursuit and this fits with the kind of firm that we are and are continuing to try to be,” said Partner Paul Van Slyke.
“We are excited that Amana Academy is entrusting us to design this inspiring project,” added GVSA Managing Partner Chris Goode. “Creating great educational environments has always been part of the culture of our firm.”
For more about Amana Academy, which is now enrolling students at both campuses, visit AmanaAcademy.org