Birdville ISD—North Richland Middle School
The North Richland Middle School rebuild replaces the 54-year old campus and was completed in four phases. The school supports 1,000 students in three grade-level, small learning communities (SLCs). All classrooms include natural lighting and open to collaboration spaces. The common area serves as the center of the campus. It is a two-story space that opens up to an outdoor reading courtyard. It also shows a maker space, located by the entrance of the commons.
The school empowers students to design, create & collaborate through a technology-rich learning environment. The plan revolves around a central learning hub (media center), maker spaces & collaboration spaces strategically placed in main circulation spaces to create transparency & expand learning beyond the classroom. Learning happens everywhere. Each neighborhood incorporates active & passive transparencies to encourage multi-studio teaching from teacher work areas to collaboration spaces.
The campus prioritizes transparency & safety. The all-masonry shell with metal panel accents is attractive, budget friendly & durable. Native materials, proper siting, natural daylight, & LED lighting contribute to a reduction in operating costs. Areas of circulation are converted into active learning spaces. The compact & flexible plan reduces the overall building footprint & utilizes the site of the existing school. Outdoor lighting allows for community use after hours.
Clerestory windows & 100% LED lights save on energy loads & local, durable materials such as brick, ceramic tile reduce life cycle costs & overall maintenance. Low E-glazing, operable shading devices, as well as large roof overhangs & building orientation decrease heat load & HVAC demand. Underground Geothermal wells paired with an efficient energy management system reduce energy use. Landscape features native & drought-tolerant plants that require little maintenance.
The new building has made a profound difference in school spirit. It needed to be welcoming to parents, family & neighborhood; shared parking, fields & sidewalks play a role in shared community use. Community spaces include a cafeteria, media center & gyms that can be used for performances, celebrations & school activities. Each are conveniently located adjacent to parking lots & can be isolated after hours. Small learning groups create a sense of community for students.
Design visioning started with community stakeholders participating in a 3-day design charrette. Community input was a top priority in formulating the layout & theme of the school. Various options were explored to get to the right plan for the site orientation & flow & look of the school. Collaboration between architects & the district representatives throughout the entire design process made sure the vision of the community & stakeholders was followed through the entire design.
Learning happens everywhere via formal & collaborative learning spaces, changing student perception & behavior & revitalizing their interest in education. A variety of learning spaces are provided to support the instructional model & allow for student choice. Students have the choice of which type of environment they work in – whether inside, outside or small or large groups. Flexible & collaborative spaces & pull-out nooks throughout the school allow the students to spill out of the classrooms.
Star of Distinction Category Winner