Designed for 588 students, River Crest Elementary School consists of four sections of grades K to 5 and two early-childhood classrooms, all of which have an interactive whiteboard, tack walls, operable windows and a unit ventilator for individual temperature control. Each pair of classrooms shares a storage room and a CAPACITY588COST PER SQ FT$129.00FEATURED IN2009 Architectural Portfolio room. The classrooms are clustered in wings, with no more than two grades in each, and doors that enable them to be shut off from the rest of the school. The central core consists of the shared spaces—the administration, media center, gymnasium, cafeteria, art and music classrooms—which the community can use after hours.
To relate to its partially wooded, sloping, 40-acre site, neutral colors were chosen for the brick and burnished block exterior. The irregular west facade echoes the nearby St. Croix River. The effect of the series of metal roof arcs pointing toward the large arc of the gym roof evokes a windswept prairie or cresting waves, consistent with the name of the school. The wave theme is carried into the school’s interior, where it appears painted on walls, etched into the curved glass wall of the media center, and in the media center and foyer ceilings.
A large mural dominates the wall opposite the foyer. Painted with the same low-VOC paints used throughout the school, it depicts the history of Hudson and the importance of the river. Each wing has a different color scheme based on the four seasons to help with wayfinding. The environmental themes reflect the district’s vision of a sustainable learning environment, with healthful, daylighted spaces, energy and water efficiency, and operational savings, and an emphasis on environmental education. The school has been certified gold under the LEED for Schools v2.0 rating system.