Career and Technical Education School

LOCATION: Lexington, Kentucky

SIZE: 172,000 SQ FT / 4 stories

CLIENT: Fayette County Public Schools

TYPE: Adaptive Re-use

SUMMARY: The future Fayette County Public Schools Career and Technical Education facility will be located at what was once the Lexington Herald-Leader facilities in downtown Lexington on Midland Avenue. FCPS and the EOP Design Team had a strong desire to acknowledge and preserve the existing building’s architectural and functional history. Wanting to create a unique aesthetic and identity for the CTE program, EOP expounded upon the building’s existing transparency along Midland Avenue. Where once the public viewed the running of the Herald-Leader’s presses, they will now be able to grab a glimpse of the energy and activities associated with the CTE programs. EOP introduced a more intimate pedestrian connection along Midland Avenue with entry canopies and deep walkways. Additionally, EOP animated the existing Midland and Main Street facades by incorporated expansions of the existing floor plates. These projections are faced with glass, which further express the importance of the CTE functions. In order to incorporate the building’s history into its future purpose, the design team asked “what is a newspaper? Where did newspapers begin, what is their purpose, and what do they deliver?” Through their unearthing of the history of news, the team learned about the acta diurna, a Roman type of daily notice displayed in the town square in the form of a chiseled slab. This humble beginning of the daily news as we know it today was translated into a 25’ x 15’ CNC-carved solid surface wall at the entrance to the school. The wall will feature illustrations representing each program offered at the facility, tied together as a modern iteration of an acta diurna. As newspaper developed over the centuries and mechanically inked printing entered the picture, newspaper graphics were rendered on paper using a stippling technique that creates a sea of circular dots that create a letter or image when viewed as a whole. Stippling was then abstracted throughout the facility as circular perforations at various scales that, when viewed as a whole, also form larger motifs and patterns. And finally, as the Herald-Leader leaned into the digital age, news reached readers via millions of pixels on our screens. The design team created a multimedia mural out of hundreds of small, colored, pixel-like squares. In the spirit of journalism, the mural visually tells the story of Kentucky’s internet deserts and oases where access to the internet and therefore news is plentiful and where it is sparse. Aesthetically, the building is largely industrial. In both honoring the history of the building and considering the future purpose of the CTE programs, the spaces feature exposed metals, block, and technical machinery. Because both the exterior façade of the building and the interior spaces are long, bright colors are utilized to create energy and emphasis while breaking up that length. Bright colors like fuchsia, orange, and lime green are used in unexpected moments such as on ceilings and handrails. Wayfinding signage will be constructed of lit acrylic and mimic the cover of a newspaper. Even the landscape design beyond the building will incorporate elements of pixelation and perforation.