2016—Dr. Linda Henrie Elementary School

Mesquite ISD—Dr. Linda Henrie Elementary
Architect: WRA Architects

A new CHPS-Designed, Sustainable, 21st Century method school using Geothermal Technology. As the largest of the District’s several dozen elementary schools, stakeholders committed to maximizing the new building’s energy efficiency, both initial and long-term, and equipping the facility and its 1,000 students with provisions for the District’s 21st Century learning methods. Major design features include optimum solar orientation and a variety of flexible learning spaces throughout the school.


This school district’s high commitment to have neighborhood elementary schools guided its decision to build a state-of-the-art elementary school in an attendance zone comprised largely of mobile home residences. Also, the District strategically selected a site less than one mile from the majority of these homes. The school includes a large courtyard and a community walking trail connected to adjacent neighborhoods to provide safety and convenience for children walking to school.


Extensive daylight brightens classes, workrooms, Library, Gym, Cafetorium, lobbies, corridors. Learning spaces are designed for 21st Century curriculum methods and technology. Classrooms have technology-friendly indirect lighting with variable controls, are sized for growth, and designed for frequent technology upgrades. Exterior aesthetics were improved by Geothermal system eliminating large outside AC units. K-3 rooms are sized for Kindergarten (larger) for flexibility. Secure entry vestibule.


The District collaborated with a number of parties to plan the Geothermal HVAC system, and already, savings from Geothermal have been immediate and far surpassed the District’s conventional systems on other schools. The architect conducted planning meetings with District administrators and stakeholder groups to study scenarios and evaluate options for the school layout, shared-use areas, technology provisions, and to incorporate the District’s new 21st Century methods.


Project meets Texas CHPS standards for High Performing school buildings: Daylight in learning spaces; South facing windows allow optimum heat gain in Winter, deep shade screens block Summer sun; highly reflective “Cool Roof” mitigates “heat island effect” upon the neighborhood; stormwater detention ponds. Geothermal HVAC system uses Earth’s constant temperature 300 feet below surface to cool and heat building far more efficiently – uses 17%-50% less energy than conventional HVAC system.


District trained the maintenance staff on a computerized Energy Management System to maximize energy efficiency in the building operation. Materials and finishes selected for long life cycle and low maintenance reducing upkeep and replacement costs. Extensive recycled materials saving taxpayer money include concrete, steel framing, insulation, ceiling tiles, playground equipment, rubber playground surfacing, and landscape mulch. Indigenous plants were used to reduce irrigation, save water.

School Transformation

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Stars of Distinction Star of Distinction Category Winner