2015 — Lytle Elementary

Lytle ISD—Lytle Elementary

Located in small rural district, project includes total renovation of existing elementary of 53,000-square feet and the addition of 15,000-square feet of space. School is designed as an open, collaborative learning environment, which includes utilizing the enhanced technological and sustainable features to further the educational experience.


In a small rural area with a population of 3,000, education is a primary focus. Schools are bringing new life, excitement and energy into this progressive community. They wanted to provide children with an experience that paralleled elite facilities in larger surrounding cities. In addition to incorporating 21st Century learning, they needed a piece of architecture that was inviting and unique. Spaces within the school are regularly used for community events, connecting the school with the town.

Stars of Distinction Design

It was imperative to enhance the existing educational experience through spatial design and technology. The new, colorful open concept features classrooms encircling a collaborative learning commons. Spaces are large enough for classes to work together as well as enclosed “think capsules” for small group learning. Sliding glass and roll-up doors support flexibility and transparent design. A learning playground replaces the traditional library. Digital devices incorporate technology throughout.

Stars of Distinction Planning

This project was the second phase of a 10-year master plan. Excitement and buzz from the first phase fueled the planning process by passing a bond two years earlier than expected. With day-long planning sessions occurring over a period of three months, the highly collaborative process engaged administration, staff, parents, students and the community. Through strategic planning, the goal to provide the same caliber schools as large school districts was accomplished.


Designed with sustainability in mind, enlarged windows in each classroom provide natural daylight. The use of high-efficient lights, occupancy sensors, and daylight sensors reduce the electrical load. With a zoned HVAC system and overhead garage doors, the gym can be operated by using its natural and cross ventilation. Existing trees were preserved to frame the learning courtyard and shade the area for environmental education regarding sustainable practices. Recycled materials used throughout.

Stars of Distinction Value

Organization of space virtually eliminates a traditional corridor and turns potentially unusable areas into flexible shared learning environments. Cost-saving measures include use of long-life/low-maintenance materials, a pre-engineered building and daylight harvesting. In addition, 85% of the building is in a re-used/re-adapted area. The outdoor space is utilized for learning activities and additional classroom space. The existing stage floor was recycled and used in the administration area.

Stars of Distinction School Transformation

Classrooms are located around an open community learning area where collaboration and learning can occur outside the classroom. That area is shared by all classes and often has numerous classes working together in the open space. Technology is prevalent, including iPads in every classroom and touchscreens in the corridors and internal pods where students collaborate. Students have the ability to learn, to be creative and
document their ideas – anytime, anywhere and everywhere.

Stars of Distinction Star of Distinction Category Winner