2017—Isaac Newton Range Elementary School

Mesquite ISD—Isaac Newton Range Elementary School
Architect: WRA Architects

A new Sustainable, 21st Century school replaces a 54-year old school on the same site. The old building had outlived its useful life, and total replacement was the most cost-effective long-term solution for accommodating the District’s learning methods and energy goals. The site abuts a City park; District and City worked together to trade sites. The new structure was constructed with school in session and no construction disruption. The old school was then demolished and became a new City park.


A total replacement of a 1962 school, the new building was designed to maximize Sustainability and 21st Century learning methods. Natural light throughout the school, rainwater collection cisterns, a shared school/city park site with competition baseball field, south facing classrooms allowing optimum heat gain in the winter and shading devices to block the summer sun, and a hike and bike trail connected throughout the City. Existing school courtyard structures and mature trees were retained.


Project uses a computerized Energy Management System to maximize energy efficiency in the building operation; staff trained to operate. Materials and finishes selected for long life cycle and low maintenance reducing upkeep and replacement costs. Extensive recycled materials used throughout. Indigenous plants reduce irrigation, save water. Value added by designing the project 100% in 3D BIM enabling potential conflicts to be resolved before construction, preventing costly changes in the field.


Many Sustainable Design features were added to this project’s Program: Technology-friendly indirect lighting with variable controls; Energy-efficient light fixtures with motion sensors; Natural light is brought in throughout the school; Many mature trees were preserved; Site of original school was transformed into a new park for the City; Native plants adapted to the climate minimize irrigation costs; Computerized Energy Management System; and large cisterns collect rainwater for irrigation.


This District’s high commitment to neighborhood elementary schools close to their residences drove the development of this site with its adjacent City park, and this school’s onsite replacement building. The District and the City worked effectively together to trade sites; a new City park occupies the site of the old 1962 original school. Many mature trees were retained. Several outdoor shelters from the old school courtyard were retained and refurbished forming the center of the new City park.


The architect conducted planning meetings with District administrators and stakeholder groups to evaluate many options. They deliberated community-use and shared-use areas, technology provisions, the school layout, and incorporating the District’s new 21st Century methods. Planning also focused on a process to switch the two sites so the new school could be constructed onsite with no disruption to students and teachers, and to give the City an all-new park with almost all of the mature trees.

School Transformation


Stars of Distinction Star of Distinction Category Winner