Denali Elementary School

Fairbanks, Alaska

  • FIRM

    Charles Bettisworth & Co.


    Fairbanks North Star Borough School District

  • AREA

    49,000 sq.ft.





Denali Elementary School’s design is a two-story prototype adapted for placement in different site conditions and neighborhoods while existing schools remained safe and fully operational. The exterior massing and design reflect the diversity of adjacent colorful neighborhoods. The interior is organized not only as an institution of learning, but also as a gathering ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONASSOCIATED FIRMDeJong Inc.COST PER SQ FT$259.00CITATIONGold CitationFEATURED IN2007 Educational InteriorsINTERIOR CATEGORYCommon Areas for community pride.

The school has three components: the entrance lobby, educational wing and public/activity wing. The lobby serves as a beacon of light and warmth on dark winter mornings, a prominent entry for visitors, and a gathering place for students and the community. A simple double-loaded corridor was improved by forming pods with adjacent support spaces that facilitate a variety of institutional strategies and student-grouping methodologies, providing a learning environment that offers flexibility, a sense of community and a safe, well-supervised environment.

The lobby separates the educational wing from the noisier activities associated with the music and physical-education programs. It allows access to the lobby, commons and the gymnasium during after-school hours, while preventing unauthorized access to the educational wing.

“Corridors are streets alive with artwork, curves and colors. This is a playground for learning.”--2007 jury