Moises V. Vela Middle School

Harlingen, Texas

  • FIRM

    Gignac & Associates, LLP


    Harlingen Consolidated Independent School District

  • AREA

    130,000 sq.ft.





Moises V. Vela Middle School is the second use of a prototype design. Distinct changes to the initial design gave this school its own identity. The design originally was conceived in a series of on-site programming sessions with teachers, administrators and staff. It proved to be so well-suited to the district’s needs that it was adopted as a prototype. Based on the ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONCAPACITY1,000COST PER SQ FT$100.00FEATURED IN2006 Architectural Portfolio with the design at the first building, the second programming series allowed for fine-tuning and adjustments.

Focusing on students poised between childhood and the teenage years, the design team purposely chose materials, forms and color schemes that reflect a more “adult” environment.

The design incorporates green design concepts: daylighting to interior spaces with insulated skylight systems, high-efficiency lighting, local/regional materials and native landscaping features. Brick masonry walls do not need paint maintenance. Terrazzo floor patterns add color and design to interior spaces, and skylights at intersections break the long visual lines of the corridors.

The radial plan provides safety and visual monitoring of student traffic. Separate entrances for teachers and staff, parents and school buses help streamline traffic patterns during peak periods. The separation of access into the school also promotes its use for after-hours events where assembly, performance and athletic areas can be sealed off from academic and administrative areas.