2020—Leonard Brautigam Center

Cypress-Fairbanks ISD—Leonard Brautigam Center
Architect: PBK

Formerly an elementary school, this school of choice was strategically retrofitted into a high-tech school that responds to the facility’s new mission. The revitalized campus showcases a sleek, collegiate-like personality, appealing to 16 to 21-year-olds who seek to catch up on graduation credits or graduate in less than four years. The new program concentrates on active student engagement, functionality and community. The school offers CTE classes equipped with state-of-the-art technologies.


To retain the building, the repurposed school maintains a sense of community and tradition while offering progressive training programs. The open concept Student Union creates a collegiate atmosphere for NextGen learners. Throughout the school, flex spaces ensure easy collaboration and breakout spaces. Diverse classroom configurations and sizes promote agility and adaptability to changing programs. Advanced technology classrooms provide access to future-oriented education.


Instead of constructing a new facility, the district repurposed a 1965 elementary school. This decision extended the building’s life by 40-50 years and reduced overall project costs by 30 percent. The building is used by the entire district, one of the largest in Texas. The overall value is found in the flexibility of the building’s design to meet student and teacher needs, including operable partitions and multi-purpose spaces. CTE classes provide real-world experience for students.


The original building used an excessive amount of energy. The mechanical systems were brought up to district standards. Once applied, the building had 26 percent energy savings and 27 percent cost savings. Instead of tearing down the old building, the building envelope was maintained and repurposed. Within the new building, original skylights were enhanced to provide ample daylight, promoting wellness. Added Low-E glazing provides additional daylight to classrooms and offices.


The district advocates “education for all.” The school ensures this, since most students lead lives that contrast the traditional student mold. The school shines as a beacon of hope for all students needing change with the school’s family-like community. Smaller classes ensure personalized learning to apply real world skills. A mentorship program pairs students with community leaders. Centrally located, the school is easily accessible for students from all attendance-zone home campuses.

Planning—Star of DistinctionPlanning

The school district repurposed an elementary school into a NextGen school of choice with a CTE. This decision saved cost on construction. The district’s vision was to expand student enrollment from 250 to 500 student, preparing students for future careers today. The low teacher to student ration ensures high quality learning, where students feel a sense of belonging. Various programs coexist at the school, calling for a central, collaborative student commons.

Transformation—Star of DistinctionSchool Transformation

The district took a 1965 elementary school and transformed it into a NextGen school of choice, breaking the traditional educational mold. For one-on-one student engagement and future growth, classrooms are diverse and flexible. The Student Union and collaboration areas promote collaboration and flexibility. Courses help students achieve professional certifications upon completion. Stimulating future growth, the 2019 bond approved additional CTE class additions.

Stars of Distinction Star of Distinction Category Winner