2017—Howard Norman Elementary School

Hutto ISD—Howard Norman Elementary School
Architect: Pfluger Architects

Norman Elementary School is the 5th rendition of the elementary school prototype for the District. The school focuses on new urbanist concepts, creating a walkable and bike-friendly campus which promotes healthier transportation for students. Sustainable technologies were key in driving design and engineering decisions to reduce ongoing utility and maintenance costs. The alterations were inspired by lessons learned, innovations in energy efficiency technologies and unique qualities of the site.


The community’s new-urbanist ordinance promotes pedestrian and bicycle friendly spaces, active and engaging street edges, and design standards that enhance the quality of the neighborhood. Deep overhangs and protected openings along public street edges shelter pedestrians and cyclists and provide dedicated circulation and bicycle storage areas while promoting an active lifestyle. Building materials and articulation blend with the look and feel of the neighboring houses.


Value—Star of Distinction

A key goal of HNES is to reduce utility bills to minimize annual maintenance and operations costs. The average Energy Use Intensity rate of K-12 schools in Texas is in the mid 50’s; Howard Norman is 10.5. HNES uses 50% less electricity, 22% less potable water, and has fewer bus routes than other schools in the District. Durable, low maintenance finishes such as polished concrete and carpet tile reduce yearly maintenance costs. LED lighting reduces both energy costs and lamp replacement cycles.


Sustainability—Star of DistinctionA 218 kVa Solar Panel array sits atop the roof of HNES, supplying about 40% of the campus’ electricity. Combined with LED lightings, ceiling fans and high-efficiency HVAC equipment, HNES uses half as much electricity as comparable elementary schools. Rainwater and condensate are collected in an 8,800 gal. cistern for site irrigation. HNES displays data on it’s sustainable attributes at the campus educational area so both students and community can be actively engaged in conservation efforts.


Community—Star of Distinction

Howard Norman Elementary was named for a local hero who was Missing in Action during WWII. His memorabilia is on permanent loan from the family and is displayed proudly near the front entrance. To commemorate the agricultural history of the site, an existing Aeromotor windmill was refurbished and stands as part of the monument sign for the campus. The Legend of the Hutto Hippo is located at the educational display wall to teach future generations about the history of their mascot.


Technology was of primary concern in the planning process for HNES. The District was in the process of changing their policies to support a “device -agnostic” network and provide one-to-one technology. The design team worked with the District to develop solutions and provide flexibility for future technology. Robust Wi-Fi, mobile digital display boards, laptops and flexible furniture liberate the classroom and allow the room to be transformed and reconfigured as needed.

School Transformation

The Computer Lab was the focus of the team’s effort in updating this prototype design. The current instructional model at HISD promotes Project Based Learning concepts. The result is a need for a flexible maker space with access to technology, space to spread out and flexible furniture. The resulting space is a two-classroom space with a folding wall. Light tubes distribute natural daylight evenly throughout the room and are dimmable to allow for digital presentations.

Stars of Distinction Star of Distinction Category Winner