Waller ISD—H.T. Jones Elementary School
Architect: VLK Architects
With a focus on collaboration, this PK-5 elementary school was designed for students with high expectations for small group learning. Grade levels are designed as learning communities with adjacent collaboration areas that extend the traditional teaching and learning environment. Inboard classrooms facilitate the district’s and community’s requests for storm and intruder protection. The design can be prototyped into different configurations using the same components to fit various shaped sites.
Bidding under budget with an east-west building orientation, high efficiency mechanical and LED lighting systems reduce overall energy use and replacement cycles. A compact plan reduced the exterior wall to floor ratio, site area requirements and steel tonnage. The design can be prototyped into different configurations using the same components to fit different shaped sites, saving development costs. Low maintenance and durable materials including a metal roof require less maintenance funding.
An east-west building orientation, high efficiency mechanical and lighting systems reduce overall energy usage and maintenance costs including low-VOC finishes, non-wax flooring and metal roofing, extending the life of the roof. The metal roof overhang shades the windows, providing an abundance of natural light and views to strengthen the connection to the outdoors, and support learning. An on-site stacking drive at the parent loop eliminated additional roadway widenings around the school.
A diverse team of students, staff, and community participated in a design charrette to create a conceptual design for this campus. Adjacent to a university, life preparedness was a focal point. The input resulted in a design with an abundance of natural light and learning spaces allowing for student choice. Expectations for collaboration in small groups are evident. Student voice was powerful in the way they expect to travel throughout the campus, and suggested unique features.
Input informed a design charrette of a diverse design team of students, staff, and community focused on the instructional model created a concept to support innovative teaching and learning, integrating the community’s values into the design. Inboard classrooms facilitate the district’s and community’s requests for storm and intruder protection. The design can be prototyped into different configurations using the same components to fit different shaped sites saving future development costs.
This school serves as a means of transforming instructional delivery with a focus on student choice and small group teaching and learning. Unique spaces provide inspiration for learning from individual to collaborative. The instructional model and the building design supports hands-on learning tailored to individual learning styles that allow students to develop critical thinking, problem solving and presentation skills through collaborative and team opportunities.
Star of Distinction Category Winner