Helen Mathews Elementary School

Nixa, Missouri

The district’s program required an initial occupancy for 350 students expandable to 550 with special emphasis on technology integration, community interaction and an exciting learning environment. The facility had to be constructed for less than $65 per square foot and be economical to operate.

The exterior use of proportionately placed horizontal brick bands, low ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONCAPACITY825COST PER SQ FT$61.43FEATURED IN1999 Architectural Portfolio windows and color-coded entry marquees at each classroom pod develop a sense of scale and ownership for students.

Contextually, the design is responsive to a future high school complex on this site, numerous karst features and surrounding agricultural/residential neighborhoods.

The heart of the school’s crossroads is a skylight rotunda, which serves as the main organizational system, and provides direct but secure access to the library, administrative center, multipurpose space, art studio and classroom wings.

The media center is the hub for the voice, data and video communication that is linked to each classroom. Efficient operational costs are a result of a state-of-the-art ground-source heat-pump system, a full fire-sprinkler system and energy-efficient artificial lighting.

Photographers: ©The Darkroom Studio and ©Tim Ludwig