2016—Jarrell Middle School

Jarrell ISD—Jarrell Middle School
Architect: O’Connell Robertson

Built on the site of the original 1916 campus, this new replacement middle school was designed to honor its history within a modern 21st century learning environment. The building was planned as a modest facility but has design elements that maximize the limited budget and provide flexibility for future changes. Outdoor spaces and global imagery extend the learning environment beyond the classroom. The school shares some facilities with the adjacent intermediate school and the community.


The new school was designed to fit within the downtown aesthetic and to maintain a connection to the existing 1916 building on the campus. The exterior material palette integrates locally quarried stone, the original red brick and standing seam metal roof to complement the existing building vocabulary. Secure access entrances to the cafeteria, library and athletic facilities enable the campus to be used by the community after hours. Design elements link students to the larger world.


The design team met with District leaders and all middle school faculty and staff to define the project goals. Key stakeholders participated in school tours. Additional meetings were held with user groups to determine departmental and grade level priorities. The design responds to the stated focus on technology, flexibility, and project-based learning. The design team worked closely with District staff and the Construction Manager-at-Risk to phase the work on the occupied campus.


A design team of an administrator, principal and architect began programming for the new High School. Preliminary schematic plans were developed, then staff from each department added, and the basic space program developed. From the space program, schematic designs were generated, discussed and revised. Ultimately design development drawings were presented and reviewed/revised until all parties agreed that a truly functional facility incorporating all programs within budget had been achieved.


Designed to minimize the impact on the environment and enhance student health, the building features an energy efficient HVAC system; low VOC sealants, paints and flooring; lighting and HVAC controls; low flow plumbing fixtures; passive solar sunshades; improved classroom acoustics; and native landscaping. The building was sited for optimal solar orientation. Large windows throughout connect learners to the natural environment.


This new school was designed to provide the maximum value and aesthetics within a limited budget. The design team assisted the District in determining the feasibility of placing the new school on the existing campus. This allowed an original gym, band hall and field house to be renovated for continued use. A UIL-compliant stage is included in the cafeteria for multiple uses. Computer labs are located in a flexible location so they can easily be converted to classrooms if needed in the future.

School Transformation

Built on the original 1916 campus, this new school in a small rural district honors the past while providing an inspiring educational environment. Design elements support teachers’ goals of promoting education outside the classroom and providing a global view. The corridors feature imagery that function as teaching tools; the modern and light-filled cafeteria showcases a world map; and large windows and outdoor areas connect learning and nature.

Stars of Distinction Star of Distinction Category Winner