2018—Vista Ridge Middle School

Keller ISD—Vista Ridge Middle School
Architect: VLK Architects


Designed to support the district’s goal of being intentionally exceptional, this 5th-8th grade campus introduces students to the arts with a proud display of student work and a variety of spaces for student presentations. Grades are strategically paired and stacked in order to provide focused circulation to provide a small school experience. Adolescent aged students are provided purposeful collaboration areas for socialization and teamwork such as the discovery perch adjacent to the library.


The campus serves as a hub in the master planned community. A two-story compact floor plan is wrapped around an open courtyard maximizing exposure to natural light, access to outdoor learning, and secure circulation routes. The outdoor athletic tennis courts, hard court play area, track, connected walking trails, and playgrounds are shared with the community. It is sited on the highest elevation in the district and panoramic views to downtown and the surrounding community are maximized.


This 5th-8th grade campus uses natural daylighting in each learning space, providing improved health for students and increased faculty retention. The learning stair is a cost effective flexible area for large collaboration, performances, socialization before school, and staging at dismissal. The use of boomerang shaped movable science tables supports a variety of student project exploration and collaboration. The science labs connect directly to the exterior for outdoor learning opportunities.


This 5th-8th grade design provides each grade level with its own pod, creating an important sense of ownership. The design was influenced by a team who appreciates the strong need for adolescents to productively interact. Thus, collaborative areas are provided for group projects and purposeful teamwork. The campus is the anchor and extension of a master planned neighborhood and provides trail connections, discovery nodes and park amenities to the community.


The strategic planning of this 5th-8th grade campus involved a team inspired by the unique needs of adolescents (socialization, peer interactions, and mentors) as well as the health benefits of natural daylight. These foci, coupled with the introduction of specialized spaces (arts and athletics) produced a school allowing for student ownership and exploration. The campus plan provides for a smooth transition to the intermediate academic and extracurricular levels.

School Transformation

Due to the specialized needs of adolescents, and the unique bridge between 5th and 8th grade curricula, this school helps to transform learning by introducing students to arts and athletics while balancing strong instructional techniques in the core academic areas. Various sized spaces allow for appropriate socialization with supervision during group work. Specific grade level designations allow students ownership of their learning.


Stars of Distinction Star of Distinction Category Winner