2018—Annie Purl Elementary School

Georgetown ISD—Annie Purl Elementary School
Architect: Huckabee

A community invigorated the district’s learner profile with student attributes focused on skill building. Believing that excellence begins at the elementary level, they inspired a school that draws on local history and creates a fun, relationship-based campus. It replaces a facility built in 1953 and is designed to mimic nearby historic square. Within its walls, the foundation is being laid for long-term student success with assistance from a kinetic, purposeful and energizing design.


The design cultivates choice, critical thinking, exploration and respectful relationships. Users are empowered to design the learning experience. Flexible furniture, transparency and options for instructional space support this belief. Learning communities connect visually and physically to the library; within each, classrooms surround versatile space for students and teachers. The library is a hub for research, making and presenting. Outdoor learning was prioritized and adds a fun element.


The campus was designed on a compact footprint. It has a distinctive look inspired by nearby historic buildings. Local materials and durable finishes were utilized. The design capitalized on the details to create big impact while maintaining economy. Dollars focused on the learning environment. The two-story academic wing features an abundance of drop-down spaces (inside and out), movable walls and teacher design labs; these elements work cohesively to create long-term flexibility.


Outdoor space was prioritized, establishing a connection to environmental stewardship, learning and play; Solar tubes bring natural light into classroom wings, gymnasium and cafeteria; Sun shades block direct light on south, west and east sides; Local stone and materials match nearby town square buildings; LED lighting; Rainwater collection and native landscaping; Durable flooring and finishes

Community—Star of DistinctionCommunity

The community is diverse in many ways; they are connected through the promise of a future for their kids. The school represents local history, with consideration to the needs of the neighborhood. Multi-purpose spaces detach from secure academic wings, creating a place for public events. The volunteer lab allows parents to engage with the school without need of going through the secure entry vestibule. A shared environment allows teachers to support all children and reinforce their “village.”

Planning—Star of DistinctionPlanning

A mix of educational summits, online surveys and focus groups were used to create student attributes that would influence design. A progressive approach to instruction combined with a traditional and historic aesthetic is responsive to the community’s wishes. Professional development was a key conversation as teachers established spatial, cognitive and instructional needs for co-teaching, shared ownership and agility in learning experience. Schools across the district adopted a similar approach.

Transformation—Star of DistinctionSchool Transformation

The elementary school replaces a 60-year-old campus that was inadequate to support the type of learning the district is pursuing. The new school is inventive, comprehensive and adaptable to the future. Students are treated to an environment filled with color, light and places to explore. Teachers work collaboratively within learning communities, sharing design labs to create curriculum. They have room to grow, to break out of the classroom and to incorporate the outdoors into instruction.


Stars of Distinction Star of Distinction Category Winner