Arlington ISD—Sandy McNutt Elementary School
New ground-up two story Elementary School includes academic classrooms, collaboration areas for both students and faculty, Gymnasium, Cafeteria, Media Center, grand learning staircase, and exterior courtyard with fabric shade canopy & tiered seating.
The new elementary is designed to provide an innovative student centered environment. Collaboration spaces for each classroom pod are utilized by both students and faculty to reinforce the district’s vision of 21st century learning. The learning stair is a prominent gathering space providing learning opportunities for large and small groups. Exterior courtyards and a tiered-seated patio provide extensions of the learning environment to the outdoors.
The overall site and drives are shared with the Junior High School limiting concrete paving, allowing for efficient vehicular traffic flow and providing ample parking for both campuses. Life-cycle costs are reduced by utilizing durable, low-maintenance exterior envelope & interior materials. Large windows allow for natural daylight and reinforce transparency throughout the campus. Mobile furniture and shelving supports flexible and ever-changing needs for a variety of learning environments.
The elementary planning promotes environmentally friendly design. Daylighting is utilized throughout classrooms and collaboration spaces allowed by the building plan orientation. Vacancy sensors, photo sensors, dimmable ballasts and high-efficiency HVAC are also used to conserve energy. The front entry canopy provides ample shade to the Media Center throughout the day, reducing cooling costs. Heat and drought-tolerant landscaping is installed throughout the site conserving water resources.
Built to the north of an existing junior high school site, the new elementary has a clear relationship to the existing campus while maintaining its own identity. A large paved plaza and canopy at the front of the school invites the community to gather together. Courtyards provide an exterior visual connection to the surrounding neighborhood yet prioritizes the safety of the students. Classrooms are located away from the public areas providing secure, after-hours spaces for community events.
The design team worked closely with district faculty to create a realistic and forward-thinking vision of 21st century learning spaces. The result of this planning effort is a flexible, adaptable, technology-driven learning environment. This innovative environment includes open collaboration spaces within the learning areas, flexible multi-purpose spaces, and outdoor learning centers supporting the district vision and providing spaces for students to develop 21st century skills.
The large-scale program of the facility is reduced through compact classroom pods, each including an easily accessible collaboration space and adjoining facilitator workroom. The grand learning stair serves as both circulation and a tiered-seated educational area for 2 or more class groups. The media center is adaptable by students with movable furniture, integrated technology, and floor outlets. Outdoor teaching spaces allow learning to extend pass the walls of the school.
Star of Distinction Category Winner