Jarrell Independent School District leaders were eager to discover how architecture could be used to maximize educational delivery. The design team provided conceptual designs of various classroom and building configurations, led district stakeholders on tours of schools in other districts, and held numerous meetings with stakeholders and users to CAPACITY700COST PER SQ FT$171.00FEATURED IN2011 Architectural Portfolio their needs and establish project goals. The result is an elementary school that provides flexibility for changing educational requirements, supports technology and creates learning communities.
Classrooms are organized by grade levels around common spaces that support collaboration and community. The common areas extend the learning environment, providing fingertip access to resources, supporting student teamwork and social discourse. An outdoor classroom situated between the academic wings connects learning to the environment. Technology, including wireless access, is integrated throughout the school.
The school design reflects the natural environment and reinforces the connection to the community. Honoring the importance of the region’s rock quarries, the school features locally cut and quarried stone veneer. Colors and massing provide visual interpretations of geological striations, a technique repeated through interior architectural elements. In addition to the use of regional materials, sustainability features include the use of recycled materials, a highly efficient HVAC system, low-flow plumbing, native landscaping, daylight and occupancy sensors, and extensive daylighting through the use of windows, skylights and light shelves. The building and campus were designed to encourage after-hours community use.
Life-cycle costs were analyzed carefully to select materials and systems that provide the highest return on investment. Close coordination with the construction manager and the district also reduced costs. As a result, the final cost was 11 percent under the bond budget without sacrificing scope or quality.