2019—Overton Ray Elementary

Burkburnett ISD—Overton Ray Elementary
Architect: BYSParchitects



The school is organized around a central circulation spine beginning with administration, special classrooms, cafetorium and gym. The library is centrally located on the spine which is then terminated by collaborative spaces. Three grade level pods surround these components, each with eight flexible classrooms, a collaborative STEM Lab and a science room. The school design reflects its oil industry heritage through exposed pipe structures while brick patterning hints at the underlying geology.


The primary exterior materials include brick, split-face block, and prefinished metal requiring minimal maintenance. Flooring materials include luxury vinyl tile and polished concrete requiring no wax. The science rooms and STEM labs are shared by each grade level pod, and the amphitheater and collaborative space are shared by the entire school. The gym and cafetorium open into a large space with a stage and are used by the School District for community presentations.


The school serves grades 3, 4, and 5 for the entire School District and is centrally located in the city near public parks and recreational activities. The shared cafetorium/gym is designed to bring the community together for special functions and as the first new school to be built in the district in over 50 years, it is a source of community pride. The school’s contemporary design leaves a progressive and long-lasting legacy for the community.


When presented with organizational strategies for the building the school’s planning group of three principals was unanimous in their preference for the pinwheel concept for the classroom pods. Inherent in this design is the potential for each pod to have its own identity while allowing the common assembly in the central hub for shared learning. The accolades of the resulting design give credit to the success of the user driven planning process.

School Transformation

Since the School District has had a long history of public education innovation, collaboration and team skills building were two primary goals the planning group focused on. Collaboration and cohort approach are encouraged by the STEM labs and collaborative spaces throughout. All students are assigned smart tablets giving access to the district’s digital cloud and web access. The entire building’s interior is bathed with natural light providing a healthy and exciting learning environment.

Stars of Distinction Star of Distinction Category Winner