Spring Branch ISD—Rummel Creek Elementary
The vintage 1962 campus was the last Elementary School rebuilt in district’s 2007 bond. The project vision is to create a strong connection between the building and its park like setting in the established neighborhood while creating a thriving 21st century learning environment. The new two-story facility serves 750 students PK – 5th grade. The school was replaced on its original site, including one existing re-purposed building fused with the new facility to create a cohesive campus.
The new school honors a devoted community by celebrating the neighborhood character and natural beauty of its immediate context. Historical connections to the original facility can be found throughout, including the Kiva and library retained at the heart of the school and the memorial plaza greeting guests at the front entry. Transparent design and consistent relationship with nature lend students a sense of place and reflect the community’s strong desire for figurative and physical connection.
The new two-story design serves 750 students from PreK to 5th grade. A clear sense of entry and separation of bus and vehicular traffic provide improved safety and security. The classroom wings, embracing the library, have interconnected views of the courtyard that foster a fusion of the building to the environment and connection between grade levels. The library and Kiva unite at the heart of the campus while artwork adorns the walls representing the unique personality of the school.
Participation in on-line surveys, collaborative on-site planning sessions, school tours, and active community presentations, allowed stakeholders at all levels to have a voice in influencing the design of the new facility. The architect led the collaborative process, incorporating the “District Unifiers” and creating a facility that achieved all critical goals: a clear entry, maintaining park-like atmosphere, increasing use of natural light and improved student safety and vehicular access.
Respecting existing site features was a critical consideration during the design. As a result, key features included preservation of extensive mature trees and park-like setting of the original facility. The courtyard provides outdoor learning opportunities and connection with nature. Additional attributes include careful building orientation to maximize north/south day light into the classrooms, highly efficient mechanical systems, a cool roof, LED site lighting and use of durable materials.
In addition to rebuilding on the existing site and repurposing a portion of the building, the new design with all interior connected spaces is improved from the previous multi-building campus exterior connections. Flexible areas throughout the facility allow maximum space usage. Classroom wings accommodate for swings in population, bi-fold doors in the library and Kiva extend for large group assembly and events, and the outdoor amenities are shared for both student learning and community usage.
Abundant with wireless technology, mobile devices and flexible furniture, the new facility provides a variety of spaces that extend beyond the classroom to foster both collaborative and individual learning. Inspirational graphics, unique creations of art and an outdoor learning courtyard promote education through discovery. Transparent views throughout the facility also encourage collaboration, learning on display and strengthen student connections with nature and their peers.
Star of Distinction Category Winner