Ralph Bunche Elementary School
Keith Anderson, AIA, NCARB; Derrick York, AIA, LEED AP;
Walter F. Pate, AIA
The project replaces an old school that had been abandoned and demolished. The district’s growth brought about reuse of this site. The new two-story school serves grades pre-K-6 and accommodates many 21st-century learning methods, including collaborative ASSOCIATED FIRMPate ArchitectsCAPACITY800COST PER SQ FT$196.00FEATURED IN2016 Architectural Portfolio areas, special-purpose and multifunction spaces, and shared community-use spaces.
Each grade level has its own large collaboration space adjacent to its regular classrooms. Glass walls separate the classrooms from community spaces and enable teachers and staff to monitor multiple areas simultaneously. Library books are dispersed throughout the collaboration areas in shelves on casters, and most of the stack space in the library is on casters for flexibility.
A major design element is the Main Street Word Wall, a tribute to Ralph Bunche, along the school’s main corridor. This space is amply lighted with a translucent roof.
The two-story arrangement on the nine-acre site allows for additional play fields and a large playground next to the gymnasium. The building is designed for significantly reduced energy consumption thanks to its compact two-story design, optimum solar orientation, natural lighting, monitored LED lighting controls, and a computer-controlled four-pipe central plant HVAC system.