Coppell ISD—Coppell Middle School West
In a growing district with needed relief at their single high school, this new 204,000-square-foot middle school allowed an existing middle school space to become the district’s ninth grade center. A key factor of the relocation was maintaining the original campus’ identity beyond the name and mascot. Updates to the facility supported the district’s adopted method of learning through the “house” concept. Technology, collaboration, and learner-focused design were key design decisions.
This middle school features four “houses.” Each house contains six classrooms, two science labs, two blended labs, one makerspace, one open collaboration space, and three private collaboration spaces, as well as restrooms and a facilitator planning room. This design concept enables students to form small communities and strong ties to others within their house. Students can move freely between common areas, promoting cross-house collaboration and sharing of ideas.
An artificial lot line reduces the large site to the required 25 acres to save time and money on maintenance. Traditional and non-traditional exterior masonry materials throughout the space require little upkeep. Natural light throughout the building enhances learner focus and comfort. Students can view the open mechanical room to understand air intake and discharge by the geothermal HVAC system.
The site has two locations for rainwater collection ― one used to flush all toilets in the building and another used to irrigate student-tended gardens. Students utilize raised planter beds to learn the importance of sustainable gardening. Solar tubes at light-locked locations allow natural light to flow into all parts of the building. From an outdoor balcony, students observe water collection, drainage, and solar panel usage.
Community members provided feedback and were integrated into the process throughout design and construction, The resulting design gives access to the public spaces for community events, including two gyms, a large group instruction room, a dining area, and two outdoor areas. The building exterior adheres to the master-planned development, creating a sense of inclusion within the larger community.
The school was thoughtfully-planned through several studio charrettes, visioning sessions with educators, and presentations to the school board and community members. Understanding the district’s standard teaching method is a crucial aspect of the design. The charrettes identified appropriate adjacencies and generated various options for the district. The site maximizes solar gain with southernmost sun exposure.
Transparency in every classroom and lab blurs the lines between learning and socializing, allowing students to collaborate and learn from each other throughout the day. Facilitator planning rooms open classrooms to be utilized by various teachers. A central café is accessible to students in all houses. The school maintains culture and identity by utilizing a history graphic wall.
Star of Distinction Category Winner