Located in the Northside neighborhood, the site was originally home to the all African-American Orange County Training School. Since 1924 it has functioned as a site of education and the school's design embraces this rich history. A display along the lower level corridor depicts a timeline summarizing the history of the site, as well as a large display case that houses FEATURED IN2014 Architectural Portfolio school's original cornerstone.
The district's Policy 9040 for high performance design set the stage to pursue LEED Gold. However, as a result of a collaborative effort, that goal was surpassed, and the school earned LEED Platinum certification — making it the first elementary school to do so in North Carolina. The design incorporates a garden roof area connected to the adjacent science classroom; a comprehensive stormwater management plan that includes an underground rainwater cistern that supplies water to the toilet fixtures and cooling tower, pervious pavers, and porous playground surfaces; and carefully designed windows, tubular skylights, and light shelves to both maximize daylight in classrooms and reduce the energy spent for lighting.