2020—East Elementary School

Lubbock-Cooper ISD—East Elementary School
Architect: Parkhill, Smith & Cooper, Inc.

This is a new 2-story elementary school with a focus on 21st Century skills. The new school environment focuses on collaboration, co-teaching, and flexibility in the learning environment.


We facilitated the design of this educational tool with a group of exceptional educators. With the Mission to keep their small school feel, the design became more compact to achieve shorter travel distances and more inclusion within clustered instructional spaces. The neighborhoods of the building maintain the closeness of students and educators in their communities while providing sub-layers of physical security in the overall school.


Envisioned for the next 100 years, this school is constructed of enduring materials like brick and steel. The interior has clear floor plates so that there is flexibility as education environments change. The technology infrastructure and security systems were designed to be adaptable with physical cabling and Wi-Fi throughout with future readiness. The entire facility was designed to remain a school, become a future hybrid, or even be used as a different facility type if ever needed.


Sustainability and environmental literacy were significant influences on this school. Biophilic Design and “”Well Design”” philosophies were instrumental in the creation of daylighting, views, and the indoor/outdoor connections. The design team collaborated with the Range and Wildlife Department at the local university on how to feature indigenous wildlife in select places at the campus, such as the wildlife observation roof and special plantings in Future Park.


What was a historically a place of innovation and invention, the site of the new school was once a cotton field. Not only marking a special historical designation in the world and regional economy, but also a whole industry. We were surprised to meet the owner who holds many John Deere patents for machinery ingenuously developed on this land. And now, as it becomes a necessary place for neighborhood growth, the new place embodies what got it here. Family-like community, growing forward.


Planning started with a Design Strategy in collaboration with the school’s leadership. Through careful consideration, a team of educators from the district were chosen to redefine the new elementary school. The five-month journey with these educators profoundly changed all of us and the trajectory of this school, and now everyone in the district to follow. We also believe that this unique process not only created a new 21st Century school, but maybe a look into the future of schools as well.

Transformation—Star of DistinctionSchool Transformation

Through the robust process of learning from the Educator Team, and a strong desire to impact ALL learners, we found that the Discovery Center was not only a transformation for this community, but for the world of learners as well. So, we invented it, created an online campaign, presented to the world’s largest tech companies, and finally made it available, for free, to anyone who wants one in their school. We sincerely hope this profoundly changes the way we all learn today and tomorrow.

Stars of Distinction Star of Distinction Category Winner