2018—East Texas Montessori Prep Academy

Longview ISD—East Texas Montessori Prep Academy
Architect: Huckabee

The new school was constructed as a way to consolidate the district’s Montessori efforts and to provide equal education opportunities to all students. Going from multiple campuses offering Montessori education to a single Montessori Academy helped the district maintain quality and continuity within the program. This provided the ability to rethink the students’ learning experience and create a safe, interactive and adaptable school.


The district wanted the school to stay true to the exterior styling of its other campuses. It’s what’s inside that sets it apart. Everything in the school enhances the student’s learning experience. 100% of classrooms receive natural light and include student-height windows, which provide play ledges and connectivity to nature. The classrooms and corridors wrap around two large courtyards, producing safe and secure outdoor learning and recreation.


The school is future proof. When the district’s teaching model evolves, the building can be transitioned in the same way as the other campuses. It contains many of the same materials and style as the district’s other schools. The academy’s centralized Montessori education gives much needed room to the other campuses that previously offered the program.


Geothermal heating gives the district a clean energy tax credit. 100% of classrooms harvest natural light and most common spaces have natural light through regular or clerestory windows. Many windows are located at student height and provide play ledges for students; this gives them connection to the outdoors. The larger of the two courtyards contains a learning pavilion, which serves as a great outdoor learning environment. Artificial turf and native landscape reduce need for irrigation.


The lot purchased by the district was an overgrown, isolated location that bordered an abandoned hotel. Construction of the academy helped transform a rundown, neglected piece of property into a proud symbol of the community’s future. The school brought growth to the district. Families who previously left in search of better education are enrolling and re-enrolling their children because of the education overhaul.


This academy, with a capacity of 1400 students, is one of the largest public Montessori schools in the nation. Due to the size and population of the school, many critical issues were addressed during planning. The school was placed centrally in the district to reach all students and to bring equity in their educational opportunities. The young age of the students means more parent drop-off and pick-up. Safe and adequate vehicle stacking had to be incorporated through the larger parking lot.

School Transformation

From the student-height windows to the outdoor learning pavilion, the student learning experience is the focus of this school. The large capacity of the school allows the district to unify their Montessori efforts and provide equal opportunities to all of their students. The academy made an impact on other elementary schools in the district. By consuming all Pre-K / K Montessori education, other schools gained more room to grow.


Stars of Distinction Star of Distinction Category Winner