Anna ISD—Judith Harlow Elementary School
Architect: Claycomb Associates, Architects
This 86,300 square foot third generation prototype new elementary was updated and refined to meet changes in teaching and 21st century learning for a fast-growing community. The compact design can be replicated on any site, making it easy for the District to manage their exponential enrollment growth.
Classrooms surround a central core of public spaces, providing easy accessibility to common areas and encouraging social interaction and connectedness. Low noise interactive projectors replace traditional classroom projectors, maximizing digital engagement. Flexible learning labs provide a creative breakout space to extend classroom learning. A separate parent drive accommodates 77 vehicles for optimum site circulation. Natural light and bright colors provide an engaging space for kids.
The entire site was master planned for a future middle school, stadium, and parking to maximize land usage. Classroom wings are designed for expansion without disrupting daily operations. The compact footprint maximizes outdoor space while ensuring that the prototype can be easily replicated on any future site. The finished ceiling was removed as a design element, creating a unique, open space with lower maintenance and labor costs.
The compact design minimizes the building’s overall environmental impact. Clerestory windows provide natural light to common areas, and motorized window shades direct light and darken the spaces as needed. A turf play area, known as the “kickabout,” provides a no maintenance, all-weather student play field. With the upgrades of continuous exterior insulation, high efficiency HVAC units, and low-wattage LED lighting, this campus has the lowest energy usage of the 2 previous prototype campuses.
Named for a long-time resident who worked at the District for 27 years, this campus balances community and a tradition of excellence with nurturing, 21st century learning opportunities. The small footprint increases green space for school and neighborhood use, and designers worked closely with the developer and city officials on new roads, signage, and street lights ensuring that site access would be safe and efficient. As a result, the school blends seamlessly into the new subdivision.
Designers met with teachers and staff from the other prototype campuses to refine the existing design. Enhancing safety was a top priority. The conversations resulted in changes in integrated classroom technology, additional control barriers at the classroom wing entrances, updated acoustical treatments, and flexible learning spaces located near the heart of the school for hands-on activities, staff training, or community breakout rooms.
Changes to the prototype design provide students with more 21st century learning concepts. Rather than include a computer lab, the campus has full wireless integration with interactive projectors in every classroom. The square footage gained was used for flexible learning labs with adaptable furniture for special projects or enrichment activities. An additional control barrier at classroom wings offer an extra layer of security, and energy upgrades provide operational savings to the District.
Star of Distinction Category Winner