NORTH SARASOTA -- Two years of construction that expanded the historic Bay Haven School of Basics Plus in north Sarasota County finished in August, just in time for the 2015-16 school year.
Designed by Lakewood Ranch-based Fawley-Bryant Architects, the 27,300-square-foot addition to the circa-1926 magnet elementary school gives its K-5 students more elbow room and a new set of facilities. The new two-story building erected by ME&S Construction of Sarasota includes a media center and library, technology lab, music suite, kitchen, cafeteria with performance platform, and five new classrooms.
Located about a mile south of Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport at 2901 W. Tamiami Circle, Bay Haven is one of two Sarasota elementary schools built from a single set of plans drawn by M. Leo Elliott. The other is Southside Elementary. Both buildings are characterized by their stucco exteriors, arched entryways, red tile roofs and exterior iron work.
According to Fawley-Bryant, the decidedly modern addition completed in August was designed to complement the original Mediterranean Revival style building, as well as three additions made during the 1960s and others made over the years. Its location within the campus also created an enclosed courtyard which can be used as a student gathering space. The courtyard features a large vegetable garden that is tended by the school's students.
In addition to opening up more space for students, the $7 million construction project added a new air conditioning system. Called a "Stealth" Chiller plant, the system was designed to be both efficient and quiet enough to cut down on noise spilling into the residential neighborhoods surrounding Bay Haven.
The school's official history states that Bay Haven was the first integrated elementary school in Sarasota, admitting 29 black students in 1962. The school was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.
The school also became home to Sarasota County's first staffed, in-house school library in 1957.
The school has been awarded "Blue Ribbon" status by the U.S. Department of Education and is rated as an "A" school. The school's web page states that its curriculum is based on a "back to basics approach," and requires discipline contracts with parents of its students.
Status Update, a new weekly feature, is a regular look at the progress of construction projects throughout Manatee County.
Project name: Bay Haven School of Basics Plus
Location: 2901 W. Tamiami Circle, Sarasota
Project type: Addition
Owner: Sarasota County Schools
Builder: ME&S Construction, Sarasota
Architect: Fawley Bryant Architects, Lakewood Ranch
Structural engineer: Hees & Associates, Sarasota
Civil engineer: Jensen and Group, Sarasota
Mechanical engineer: ME3, Sarasota
Project value: $7 million
Completion date: August 2015
Square footage: 27,300