Category: Institutional
Location: Akron, OH
Size: 100,100 sq. ft.
Masonry Used: 202,300 CMU, approximately 205,000 Face Brick units,and approximately 2,000 sq.ft. cast stone.
Submitted by: TC Architects


Hyre Community Learning Center is part of a city-wide program to promote the integration of community involvement and use of the advanced educational facility of the 21st century, funded through collaboration between Akron Public Schools, The City of Akron, Ohio, and The Ohio School Facilities Commission. This 100,100 square foot school, which serves 750 students grades 6 through 8, promotes community use of the facility after school hours for educational, community and recreational purposes through practical and innovative interior spatial arrangements, a functional site plan, and an inviting building façade. This new facility also places great emphasis on sustainability through design and will become LEED certified.

This new building has a visual and physical connection to the existing Ellet Community Center and the existing school gymnasium and locker room facilities, which share the site with the new brick structure. The interior spatial arrangements were adapted for the community learning center approach which puts the common educational and community functions together (gymnasiums, student dining, music, and media center) clustered into one wing. The other wings are secured during non-school hours and are used for classroom and administrative purposes.

Hyre CLC employs several different shades of brick, including dark red brick, red brick, buff brick, and buff colored cast stone pieces, to create a traditional façade that is both monumental and welcoming. A curved brick colonnaded canopy with stacked brick design in the columns and openings, constructed of brick and cast stone, highlights the primary entrance. The vocabulary used by Hyre CLC to create a traditional brick building with modern flare includes brick quoins, a double soldier brick cornice trimmed by rounded "mailbox" brick pieces, stacked brick elements interrupting the continuous soldier courses encompassing the perimeter of the structure, peaked cast stone copings, and stacked brick rectangular accents. The repetition of these elements allows for impressive design features while keeping the cost under control, which was a major concern not only to the school district, City, and the State, but the tax paying public as well.

The wall structure designed for Hyre CLC is a brick façade over a 4" cavity that houses insulation in front of a CMU backup wall. The extensive use of masonry in this cavity wall design is not only a structurally sound decision; it also contributes to the project's desire to incorporate sustainable design practices. The ability to acquire brick, CMU, and cast stone from locations within a 500 mile radius of the project site helps the project obtain regional material credits. The extensive use of masonry in the structure also begins to incorporate sustainable design elements into the project, such as building materials with recycled content and future reuse potential.

Inspired design, extensive coordination between all trades, hard work on behalf of all parties, and exceptional materials have made this project a success. Hyre CLC is a beautiful building of which the community can be proud and can use for multiple purposes for years to come.

Project Participants

Owner: Akron Public Schools

  • Architect/Desinger: Todd Westover, TC Architects
  • Structural Engineer: John Kabak, GPD Group
  • General Contractor: Mike Coates, Mike Coates Construction Co., Inc.
  • Masonry Contractor: Mike Coates, Mike Coates Construction Co., Inc.
  • Masonry Supplier: Edward Milliken, The Bowerston Shale Company
  • Masonry Supplier: Todd Eckert, Medina Supply Company
  • Masonry Supplier: Patrick Feltrinelli, Custom Cast Stone
  • Landscape Architect: Nick Moskos, Brian Rice, Dan Ritchey, and Mark Hirsch, GPD Group