Community Responsive Schools: The Southeast Raleigh YMCA and Elementary School

1:30 PM
– 2:30 PM


The Southeast Raleigh Elementary + YMCA creates pathways for an emerging neighborhood and its residents to build a better future through education, wellness, and access to healthy foods. Located on Rock Quarry Road in Raleigh, this partnership project brings together the YMCA of the Triangle and the Wake County Public School System into a single building with a shared mission to provide tools for wellness and education to the local community in conjunction with the Southeast Raleigh Promise initiative. The project is part of a larger mixed-use “Beacon Site” community investment with the intended goal of helping to break the cycle of intergenerational poverty in the marginalized Southeast Raleigh community. The design provides the safety and security of an elementary school while offering the full range of YMCA programs to the surrounding residents as one unified, inviting, and community-focused structure. The centrally located cafeteria and playroom gymnatorium fulfill the school’s program of requirements during school hours. After hours, the play area becomes a third gym space for the YMCA and the cafeteria becomes a multipurpose meeting space. A green roof and community gardens supply the culinary kitchen that’s also used for night classes offered to local residents. All children who attend the school are given free swim lessons. Highly collaborative visioning and design workshops helped to build consensus from community stakeholders and identified opportunities for synergies in the campus design. Participants engaged in a series of interactive exercises that helped foster dialogue about key planning challenges and opportunities. This unique collaboration is based on the Purpose-Built Communities holistic approach to community revitalization and serves as a national model for YMCAs across the country.

#1: Understand factors that influence economic mobility challenges of the Southeast Raleigh community and examine the impact of access to quality social infrastructure components
#2: Learn about the synergies available in a unique collaboration that pairs mutiple community organizations and facilites
#3: Learn how public private partnerships (PPP) plays a tole in this development project
#4: Learn how nnovative partnerships such as this can enhnce learnign environments and positively impact the educational curriculum

Community Engagement: Leads the internal and external communities through a discovery process that articulates and communicates a community-based foundational vision, forming the basis of a plan for the design of the learning environment. The vision is achieved through a combination of rigorous research, group facilitation, strategic conversations, qualitative and quantitative surveys and workshops. Demonstrates the skill to resolve stakeholder issues while embedding a community's unique vision into the vision for its schools.

Educational Facility Pre-Design Planning: Manages a master planning process that combines educational planning, facilities assessment and utilization, demographic research, capital planning and educational specifications with a community-based vision to establish a plan for learning environments. This includes the ability to translate existing or aspirational instructional models to specific programming and spatial relationships.

Hal Bowen, Principal, RATIO
Hal leads RATIO's Raleigh Studio and has practiced architecture in Raleigh for 32 years specializing in the design of K-12 educational facilities. Hal has led the design of over 40 K-12 projects and various other community facilities including YMCA's, libraries, municipal and higher education projects. Hal is the past-president of the North Carolina A4LE and a current board member. Hal received is BArch from North Carolina State University in 1987. 

Marcella Rorie, Director, Facility Planning & Design, Wake County Public School System 

Betty Parker, Senior Director, Real Estate Services, Wake County Public School System

LearningSCAPES Virtual Conference: Passport to Learning



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