Cypress-Fairbanks ISD—Bane Elementary School Addition and Renovations
Architect: IBI Group, Inc.
Modernization of a school that served the community since 1957 required the design to incorporate 40,857 SF of new construction and 61,310 SF of renovations. The previous campus consisted of three buildings connected by overhead canopies. Demolishing the annex and expanding the 1972 and 1980 multi-purpose buildings with a new entrance, 19 classrooms, functional multi-purpose area, etc. transformed the compact campus into a contemporary learning environment making excellent use of space.
The connection between the old and new is seen by the flow of the design, and was preserved by the use of similar building materials, colors and repurposed middle school canopy design cues. Various learning zones accommodate each student’s learning preference, be it reflective, active or collaborative. Each space is rich in technology and is designed as an open plan concept like the existing campus. The flexibility provides connectivity, transparency and inclusivity with informal supervision.
Added value by relocating the school entry and occupying the underutilized existing parking lot. This removed the need to pay for a lot while keeping the outdoor play area intact. Strategic site design eliminated portable building use and featured the idea of shared resources with the middle school. Preserving the multi-purpose building for new art and music rooms and designing around expensive spaces saved the building envelope and stretched the budget to accommodate as many needs as possible.
Reusing over 65% of the existing building in addition to a highly compact footprint minimized the impact on the site and environment while fostering a positive influence within the community. Spaces are exposed to natural daylight and cooled by an enhanced HVAC system that improves indoor air quality. Low-emitting materials are cost effective and easily maintained while locally and sustainably sourced. All systems and materials were chosen for longevity, adaptability and life cycle costs.
As one of the oldest campuses in the District, the elementary school has had a long and rich history within the community. The close proximity to the middle school and new orientation of the entrances to one another strengthened the tie between the two campuses that sit on the same site. Small learning communities inspire a sense of belonging and security within the campus. Modernization of the elementary school provides a milestone for the students and community moving forward.
The vision was initiated by District stakeholders to develop strategies that supported learning goals and meet current specification standards at a fixed budget. Programs were studied during programming to maximize collaborative use while minimizing square footage. Regular meetings and direct input from District personnel and community members helped prioritize facility needs, repurpose existing building features and create a seamless phasing schedule to limit disruption during the year.
The physical transformation has enabled the program to provide better educational services and more advanced teaching. Flex spaces bring learning outside the classroom into the hallways, which allows circulation spaces to become part of the learning experience. Embedded outdoor teaching tools and campus-wide technological infrastructure creates diverse spaces to support independent and group learning. Repositioning the entrance transformed the renovated campus by welcoming new experiences.
Star of Distinction Category Winner