Facilities Chair for Riverview Charter School, Mallory Baches

By Wendy Pollitzer

Featured in The Island News

November 11, 2010

Mallory Baches co-founded and is a Partner of DPZ Pacific, a planning and design firm that provides services for a wide variety of projects in Asia. Baches has been a member of the Congress for New Urbanism since 1999. An architect and urban designer by training, Baches is responsible for project design/architecture and code development using the innovative planning techniques of Duany Plater-Zyberk & Company. Prior to co-founding DPZ Pacific, Baches was one of four Project Managers at Duany Plater-Zyberk in Miami, Florida and the youngest ever promoted to the position. In her five years with the firm she managed a variety of projects ranging from community revitalization to resort development throughout North America. Her design skills in both urban form and building architecture were first developed at the University of Notre Dame’s School of Architecture five-year program, the only fully accredited Classical School of Architecture and Urban Design in the United States. Baches and her husband, Demitri came to Beaufort by chance. As many Beaufortonians have done, the Baches decided to stay. Their jobs allow them to live anywhere in the world; and fortunately for Riverview Charter School, they found a home in Habersham. They have one daughter, Iris.

Riverview Charter School opened its doors at its temporary location on Burroughs Avenue on August 17, 2009, just one month after getting final approval from the Beaufort County School Board.

Now, a little over one year later, students, faculty and parent volunteers are very rapidly bursting out of every crevice at the temporary location, which used to house the Humanities School and Beaufort Elementary School.

Now, Riverview Charter School’s Board of Directors is set on a precise path to finding a permanent solution with a purpose of defining those elements central to the vision of the school’s charter.

Mallory Baches, Facilities Chair on the Riverview Board, is determined to start the  design process in a public format to best meet the goals and objectives of Riverview’s philosophy as well as the school’s programming and curriculum needs. And there are many stakeholders in the growth plan.

Baches and other Board members think it’s important to have a public workshop to get feedback from parents, faculty, charter committee members, governmental jurisdictions, landowners and the public at large. The entire team can balance all of the key elements necessary to collectively deliver a permanent facility based on the philosophy of Riverview Charter School.

It is the purpose of the Board to share dialogue and conversation regarding growth with the public. Baches especially emphasizes the conscious effort made by the Board for the larger good of the school’s population.

She comments, “It’s satisfying to know that this group will implement the best fit for the community.  The Board would not be able to succeed if they were motivated by personal effort.  The Board is thinking about the legacy of Riverview, not just for today. And it’s all based on environmental stewardship. From a facilities standpoint, and in keeping with our philosophy, we want this new building to last for 100 years or longer.”

The students are used to hearing the words, “Stewardship” and “Cooperation” on a day-to-day basis. In fact, it’s not uncommon to hear them say these words to each other in everyday context.

“We have core values that the staff reinforces everyday,” explains Baches. “That’s why we want to create a permanent facility that will reflect a day in the life of a student or teacher at Riverview. We want to use the space as efficiently as possible and allow for more hands-on, tangible space and more flexible opportunities to reflect what the kids are learning, both outdoors and indoors.”

Baches and the Riverview Charter School Board of Directors invite the public to a Visioning and Programming Kick-Off Workshop December 6-8 at Beaufort City Hall.

Facilities Component of the Riverview Charter

Riverview Charter School will provide a permanent facility that serves those who use it by being: sustainable, safe, efficient, economical, “green,” accessible, flexible, and appropriate.  Riverview will meet these objectives in identifiable and measurable ways.  The site will be selected for its location within an area of population, where the community and the school can collaborate in a supportive way.  The campus will be designed to create a secure environment, where visitors as well as children and staff are accounted for as they arrive and depart.  The facilities will adhere to a carefully studied budget that maximizes benefits and minimizes drawbacks of the choices it requires.  The facilities will be designed to achieve a LEED certification level of energy and environmental achievement.  The buildings will be in keeping with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements, so that they are accessible to all who seek to enter.  The floor plans will be considered so as to allow for ultimate flexibility of programmatic use, and the facades will be created to be in keeping with the vernacular of the area.

About Wendy

Wendy Pollitzer is a versatile writer living in the Lowcountry of South Carolina.

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