2016—Three Rivers Elementary

Three Rivers ISD—Three Rivers Elementary
Architect: Fromberg Associates, Ltd

Replaced a 50 year old elementary campus to address issues of disconnection and exterior access to buildings.  Designed and built new facility with 25 classrooms and modern library integrated with technology hub of the campus.  Integrated community and school use included a cafetorium and gymnasium; a protected courtyard to house a play area, a community garden and outdoor learning environments.  The entire facility was designed to ensure security, safety and ease of monitoring.


In a small oil & gas town with the schools serving as the central civic focus of the community, the new elementary school sits at the gateway to the district. Administration capitalized on the location and used this opportunity to provide facilities to the community by creating a community node within the school, made up of the gymnasium and cafetorium.  The grand entrance was aesthetically designed, but included safety & security features restricting access to the rest of the campus.


The 50 year old elementary campus was a cluster of disconnected buildings. Monitoring, keeping students centralized & ensuring safety & security of students was compromised.  Visibility from the administration node was critical in initial design phase.  The design of new elementary provides a single, secure entry with ability to observe the entry, library, corridors, cafeteria/gymnasium entry and student restrooms.  Students and parents benefit from centralized design & single point of entry.


A frequent concern designing facilities on tight schedules is full engagement from ALL in the process of imagining needs of students & faculty—and the potential of a facility to serve these needs—until late in the process. We bridged this gap by inviting stakeholders to fully realize their new facility by presenting each space as described by the committee rendered in 3D, using interactive boards to engage them in the process of creating & shaping the spaces to improve/enhance student learning.


Energy conservation was achieved through the use of deep overhangs around the building; low heat-gain roof materials; deep canopy covers at all entries; insulated translucent panels at the library, gymnasium, cafeteria and classrooms to capture natural daylight and reduce reliance on traditional lighting. Another key focus of this project was to utilize durable, long-life materials, such as high-density gyp. board to reduce maintenance waste and replacement over the lifetime of the building.


Designing for a small, hard working community in the midst of an economic boom and wanting the best for their students, cost was not an issue.  During the design process, the economic situation changed drastically, resulting in a much lower budget.  The design team had to find solutions to preserve the project, while continuing to deliver a facility that fulfilled all promises made to the community; to provide a vibrant, 21st century learning environment for future ready teachers and learners.

School Transformation

The importance of teaching students the skills to discover their world and to learn to learn becoming a more central focus in education was essential to express in the design of the new elementary school. Administration wanted a library / media center central to the campus—a space where students could engage in the learning and discovery process independently—combining the media center with the technology hub of the campus, to serve each other with their own strengths in this endeavor.

Stars of Distinction Star of Distinction Category Winner