The Challenge: The Goddard School in Gainesville, Virginia is a private preschool for children ages 6 weeks to 5 years. This owner-operated franchise needed a building that provided a nurturing and spacious environment for their play-based education system, which emphasizes learning through experiences and exploration.
“Most Goddard Schools are purpose-built,” said Greg O’Brien, who co-owns the Gainesville location with his wife Lisa O’Brien. “While Goddard Systems Incorporated provides franchisees with standard building templates, each one must be customized to fit state and local requirements. In our case, we had a property that didn’t lend itself well to the standard building. As such, we went ‘off script’ and designed a building from the ground-up.”
The Solution: In search of an architect familiar with the childcare industry, who could also customize plans to make the best use of their lot, the O’Briens contacted Loveless Porter Architects based on recommendations of fellow Goddard owners. Goddard Systems Incoproated (GSI), which franchises the schools, lists the Northern Virginia-based firm as an ‘architect of choice.’
Greg explained that architect Sean Porter took the time to understand their vision for a light, open space with a homey feel, creatively working within the current building footprint that had already been sited on the lot: “Sean made the building ‘work’ for GSI, Virginia, Prince William County and our own requirements. He also suggested several enhancements that we incorporated to improve the overall look, such as pediments, and feel, like skylights, crown molding and subway tiles.”
The Result: Balancing unique design needs with corporate, state and local guidelines and regulations, Loveless Porter produced a space that creates a positive first impression on prospective families. “We get compliments from almost all who enter,” said Greg. “When prospects see how much attention we put into the design of the building, they tend to be more apt to realize that we put that much attention into the education of our students.”