2018—Fabra Elementary School

Boerne ISD—Fabra Elementary School
Architect: LPA, Inc.

New Elementary School for K-5 to replace existing Elementary School.


Collaboration with staff and administrators revealed a need for nontraditional learning spaces. The organizational strategy of the school groups classrooms into learning neighborhoods. Each cluster of classrooms has access and visibility to collaborative learning spaces. The school’s tradition of outdoor learning influenced organization around a tiered central courtyard. Key shared spaces face the courtyard space to promote use. The design draws on district tradition of regional material use.


The school’s layout allows community use by orienting key spaces to the exterior. A combined dining hall and gymnasium provide a place for the entire school community to gather. Traditional corridors are reshaped into collaboration spaces which link teaching spaces. Simple massing and material detailing takes advantage of local knowledge in masonry and metal work. Life cycle costs are reduced by use of durable interior materials and efficient building systems.


The CHPS-designed school will reduce energy use by 34% through the use of efficient building systems and optimal solar orientation. Water reduction strategies include a condensate capture system, a water management system, and low use fixtures which conserve water use by 20%. Sustainable design is highlighted throughout campus as a teaching tool for students in demonstration areas which showcase water conservation and material and energy efficiency.


The school replaces an existing campus dating to 1948. Shaded outdoor spaced further the school’s culture of outdoor instruction and play. The campus courtyard includes planters to continue the school’s gardening program. The design relates to the natural attributes of the site. Access to a preserved dry creek bed enhances students’ connection to nature. The original campus has since been adaptively reused by the design team as a district-wide administrative office.


Clustering of teaching spaces around collaborative spaces was a result of the district’s evolving instructional style. The campus arrangement around a courtyard was essential to achieving dual goals of naturally lit spaces and reduced distances for travel time. Multiple layers of security include a push button system which secures grade level neighborhoods. The school’s entry provides a secure check-in while maintaining a welcoming and transparent feeling.

Transformation—Star of DistinctionSchool Transformation

The school’s transition to the modern campus has resulted in elevated student success over the first year of operation. The deployment of collaboration spaces throughout campus has enhanced communication between teachers and grade levels. Increased visibility and connectivity allows flexibility in supervision among teachers. This expands the traditional teaching space and allows flexibility in group size and instructional delivery.


Stars of Distinction Star of Distinction Category Winner