2015 — Seagraves Elementary

Seagraves ISD—Seagraves Elementary

This District realized the need to reach students in a different way that their old building could not support . A majority of these students face socioeconomic challenges. The drive for a new building was student centered – to get a school that both facilitated and celebrated engagement in the learning process. The new classrooms are focused on student discovery, collaboration and experimentation, and a sharp focus on critical thinking and problem solving.


“Can you believe they built this just for me?”

A large map node lies at the center of the learning neighborhoods, inviting students to contemplate life beyond their environment and dream. Students see large flowers with a Sola Tube skylight center in the MPIA and a whimsical sun and playful clouds in the cafeteria . Outdoor classrooms feature areas for performances, reading, gardening and discovery. A human sundial gives students and visitors a sense of time, the seasons and basic astronomy.


“Thanks for getting the building out of our way.”

Each grade is organized into a learning neighborhood that includes a Multipurpose Instruction Area (MPIA) with three classrooms. Reading materials, laptops, flexible furnishings and space for “maker” activities is provided in each MPIA. Operable, acoustic partitions open classrooms together and into the MPIA. Co-teaching, enrichment, and project based learning opportunities are flourishing in learning neighborhoods that are open 70% of the time.

Stars of Distinction Planning

“We need to reach our kids in a different way.”

Design team field trip observed existing teaching environment
Charrettes with lead educators, administrators and community members considered:

  • Schlechty Center training on co-teaching and collaboration
  • Learning Neighborhoods
  • Distributed libraries/flex labs
  • Flexible furnishings selected based on student movement and multiple learning modalities
  • Outdoor leaning spaces

Presentation to all teachers for vote on 21st century Floor Plan concept


“…space to explore their own education.”

  • Outdoor science classroom – planting beds with drip irrigation and composting bins – Sola tubes and skylights stimulate instruction on sustainable light sources
  • Clerestory windows utilized in music and gymnasium
  • Daylighting & lighting control systems
  • Grass Paver fire access lan
  • School shares stadium’s existing parking
  • Finishes with no VOC’s or formaldehyde
  • MPIA flooring is 36% rapidly renewable
  • Reflective roof reduces heat island effect


“Test scores are way up…”

Multipurpose Instruction Areas (MPIA) for each grade house flexible, distributed library and computer resources. MPIA’s save travel time for instruction – are used 90% of the day compared to 20% in the old school’s central library. A large moveable partition between the cafetorium and gym can be closed for dining but open for seating school programs, saving 1250 square feet and $205,000. Siting the building to share existing parking with the stadium saved $310,000.

Stars of Distinction School Transformation

“Dream Big”

  • Designed for 20 unique learning modalities and individual learning styles
    Composting Garden gives students experiential and naturalist learning opportunities
  • Outdoor amphitheater showcases student performances and story-telling
  • MPIA used for collaborative, play-based and peer-to-peer learning
  • Soft, flexible furnishings allow students to rearrange their environment
  • Smart tables, interactive TV’s and plug\share devices connect technology, teamwork and critical thinking

Stars of Distinction Star of Distinction Category Winner