As one of the first commissions resulting from a 2002 bond program, Highland Meadows Elementary School provides relief to the crowded Reilly Elementary School. The site is central to an established neighborhood in the far northeastern corner of the district and is surrounded by single-family residences.
The site is a rectangular-shaped property with the long axis CAPACITY800COST PER SQ FT$102.30FEATURED IN2006 Architectural Portfolio north to south. The new school responds to the neighborhood context and maximizes the use of the remaining green space by shifting upper grades to the second story. The vehicular traffic flow is designed to coexist with pedestrian circulation and provides access for visitors, bus traffic and teachers’ vehicles.
The plan is organized about a two-story entry lobby bound by the administration area and a prominent feature wall that frames the auditorium. Along the lobby wall is a monumental staircase rising to the second floor, overlooking the lobby and leading to the upper-grade classrooms. Extending beyond the entry is the media center, which is filled with natural light from the north. The media center and lobby volume projects into a courtyard, which can be used for a variety of outdoor events. The southern two-story wing houses the academic core classrooms.
To the north of the library, the landscaped courtyard is viewed and defined by the cafeteria and gymnasium, and the specialized classrooms for art and science.