2016—Purple Heart Elementary School

Socorro ISD—Purple Heart Elementary

Career exploration is the focus of this innovative elementary school with one-of-a-kind curriculum aligned with HB 5 endorsements. The first-of-its-kind in its district, features academic hubs that support intentional collaboration and peer learning in each grade level neighborhood. Colorful, flexible, age appropriate furniture outfits all areas supported by technology. Here, career readiness starts at kindergarten, and all students are afforded unique experiences as they begin their journey.

Community

Community—Star of DistinctionThe school’s regional vernacular aligns with the neighborhood it serves, increasing the value of the entire community as one through shared spaces including the gym, cafeteria, library, and outdoor classroom. The building exposes the entire community to college and career readiness via a one-of-a-kind curriculum aligned with HB 5 endorsement areas. Student “Green Teams” educate the community on the sustainable design.

Design

Students learn in spaces that align with HB 5 endorsement areas, supporting their individual learning styles, while academic hubs provide a variety of purposes, outfitted with technology and flexible furnishings. Grade levels collaborate in cross-curricular learning opportunities. Natural daylighting illuminates learning studios and academic hubs. The school and site are designed to be a combo school (K-5 ES and 6-8 MS) with a shared kitchen.

Planning

The design was driven by deliberate planning to incorporate a one-of-a-kind curriculum addressing each of the HB 5 endorsement areas. An inquiry-based charrette defined the visioning goals, and stakeholders created a conceptual framework to inspire and celebrate learning. The interior environment is agile providing for a variety of academic spaces within seconds, maximizing instructional time. The school and site are designed to be a combo school (K-5 ES and 6-8 MS) with a shared kitchen.

Sustainability

Sustainability—Star of DistinctionDesigned to achieve LEED silver status, student “Green Teams” created by the principal educate students, parents, and the community about the environmentally-friendly features of the school. LEED standards, low-maintenance materials, VRF mechanical system and natural daylighting reduce M & O costs. Native regional landscaping blends with the adjacent community and increases savings. Features to reduce water usage and heat island effect were introduced.

Value

Purposeful planning using regional construction including tilt-wall concrete helped achieve the $134/SF budget, while shortening the construction schedule. LEED standards, low-maintenance materials, VRF mechanical system and natural daylighting reduce M & O costs. Native regional landscaping blends with the adjacent community and increases savings. The school and site are designed to be a combo school (K-5 ES and 6-8 MS) with a shared kitchen. The community shares the gym, cafeteria and library.

School Transformation

Transformation—Star of DistinctionInquiry-based instruction is provided, recognizing various student learning styles using a one-of-a-kind curriculum informing learning today for tomorrow’s future societal needs. College and career exploration for young learners serves as a catalyst in the district with this innovative design. Students learn based on their individual styles in small neighborhoods designed for a variety of purposes and outfitted with technology and colorful, flexible, and age appropriate furniture.

Stars of Distinction Star of Distinction Category Winner