Success Academy South Bend

South Bend, Indiana

Two years after completing the award-winning Career Academy South Bend 7-12 charter school, the same client engaged Panzica to convert an 85,000 sq. ft. former big box store into a K-6 elementary/middle school also offering project-based learning. Once again working on a “fast-track” basis, the initial  build-out was completed and ready for 600 students within just 20 weeks.

As with its predecessor, this project required rapid decision-making and close integration of the client, client vendors and Panzica’s architecture, interior design and construction personnel. Objectives were achieved on-time and on-budget, at a fraction of typical public school build-out costs. Sustainable principles incorporated included extensive day lighting, new building energy management systems, and broad use of rapidly renewable and recycled building materials.

The building’s plain exterior facade was enhanced by the introduction of woodgrain composite aluminum panels interspersed with brightly colored accent tiles, punctuated by clusters of colorful tensile canopies. Each 400 sq. ft. canopy provides shelter from the elements while creating a bright and distinctive building identity.

Features include a new full-service cafeteria with a patio, a “Little Theater” presentation hall seating 205, a regulation high school gym with a floating hardwood floor and stage, and an indoor/outdoor playground some have characterized as being “like McDonald’s on steroids”. All classrooms have state-of-the art WiFi and smartboard technologies. Multiple “flex” classrooms feature operable glass partitions creatively adapted from commercial garage doors. Curving beam-like elements the designers have dubbed “noodles” float above the public corridors and flex areas, coordinating with brightly colored light fixtures to give common spaces free-form playfulness and creative energy.

The school was formally dedicated by Indiana Gov. Mike Pence in March, 2016.

Delivery Method: Design-Build “Fast-Track” Adaptive Renovation

Project Area: 105,000 sq. ft. – Two Stories

Structure Type: Precast Concrete / Conventional Steel

Services Provided

  • Architecture
  • Construction
  • Interior Design
  • FF&E Specification & Buy-out