The area’s Latino heritage directly inspired Westfield’s warm color palette. Toledo Public Schools and designers from The Collaborative Inc, a member of Allied Toledo Architects, worked with the community to develop a school unique to this location. “The school draws from the character of the neighborhood,” said Dan Tabor, AIA, architect/partner on the project.
Set amongst many older structures along Western Avenue and Field Avenue in south Toledo, Westfield has a rich, established presence. “The masonry elements are considerate of the neighborhood’s history, while modern details like the metal entry canopy point to its future,” said Fritz Roberson, architect/project manager from The Collaborative Inc.
Materials and detailing are carefully used to help the building fit comfortably with the nearby homes. “The gable roofline features relate the two story school to the scale of the surrounding neighborhood,” Tabor said.
The gables, highlighted in red brick, contrast with the terra cotta and tan colors of the body of the building. Wide, rough cut brick bands, along with alternating layers of offset narrow bricks, give the building texture.
During the design process, the team met with parents and neighbors as a means for gathering input. One element resulting from those meetings are the bilingual signs outside each room. Based on the Latino population, community members wanted these room identification signs written in both English and Spanish.
As an integral part of the neighborhood, Westfield aims to educate the entire community. “It’s not only for educating students, but for educating their parents as well,” said Principal Marsha Jackisch.
According to Jackish, Westfield will offer after school courses to teach English as a second language to adults. She also hopes to utilize the school’s 25-seat computer lab for teaching computer skills to both parents and students.
Other technology includes smartboards, four student computers in every classroom, and overhead projectors in each classroom. This equipment provides more opportunities for interactive learning. “Any time you tell kids they get to work on the computer, they are excited,” said Jackish.
Opening to students this week, Westfield is designed to accommodate 350 students in kindergarten through fifth grade.