Newark City Schools had three goals for Cherry Valley Elementary, a prototype design used four times in the district:
•Establish educational parity throughout the district.
•Create a nurturing environment.
•Support curriculum programs.
Of the district’s 12 elementary schools, eight were closed. Four new schools were constructed, and existing campuses were ASSOCIATED FIRMJBA Architects, PCCAPACITY500COST PER SQ FT$140.98FEATURED IN2008 Architectural Portfolio and expanded. This resulted in eight elementary schools with stimulating learning environments.
Many students moved from a 200-student school to attend a larger facility. The environment had to feel comfortable and safe to young students. The design accomplished this by:
-Creating four classroom neighborhoods and shifting corridors to break sightlines, making each seem small and home-like.
-Eliminating hall lockers and using cubbies in each classroom.
-Using color patterns as wayfinding markers.
The design resolved many curriculum issues by:
-Creating space in wide corridors for volunteer tutoring programs.
-Accommodating small-group areas in classrooms for interactive literacy and mathematics programs.
-Using space and storage to support hands-on learning.
-Maximizing natural light.