Zephyr Elementary School

Whitehall, Pennsylvania

Faced with growing enrollment and overcrowding in its existing schools, the district elected to construct a state-of-the-art home for grades 4 and 5. The new building enhances the educational program, maintaining smaller class sizes and building enrollment, and by removing the fifth-grade students from the middle school.

The ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONCAPACITY700COST PER SQ FT$225.00FEATURED IN2011 Architectural Portfolio also honors another district priority by keeping all the school buildings on one campus, promoting a sense of community and easing transitions for students. The established organizational scheme positions the academic and district administration buildings around a campus green. The footprint of Zephyr Elementary School reinforces this arrangement with two overlapping angled columns, each parallel to a classroom wing of the neighboring high school and middle school.

The primary two-story entrance lobby occupies the dynamic space created by the intersection of the angle within the building. The shape of the building also separates the approaching vehicle traffic with a buses-only driveway on one side and cars on the other, with separate entrances at either end of the lobby. The administration suite is positioned to enable direct access from a secure vestibule for visitors and complete visual control of both entrances.

Abundant natural light is brought into the lobby through a roof monitor and large expanses of glass curtainwall. All classrooms and the main corridor have large windows and an eye-catching palette of durable materials to enhance the quality of life for students and staff.

Sustainable features include daylight harvesting, a sophisticated energy-management system, low- VOC materials, and efficient plumbing and mechanical equipment. The campus environment is enhanced and the impact of additional paving is mitigated through the development of an outdoor classroom space, soft play areas, constructed wetlands, and irrigation system for neighboring athletic fields.