John F. Nuner Elementary School

South Bend, Indiana

  • FIRM

    Hebard & Hebard Architects


    South Bend Community School Corporation

  • AREA

    89,772 sq.ft.





The new K-6 elementary school was constructed on a narrow sloping site bordered by residences on each side. The two-story gymnasium and auditorium portions of the school were buried into the hillside, respecting the scale of the surrounding neighborhood. The design theme, “EDUCATION: is the Bridge to the Future” is reinforced by an entry bridge in front of the school ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONCOST PER SQ FT$113.00CITATIONBronze CitationFEATURED IN2000 Educational Interiors2000 Architectural PortfolioINTERIOR CATEGORYCommon Areas exposed structural steel detailed throughout the interior.

The floor plan is organized around the skylighted entry corridor and two- story atrium. The natural daylight from these skylights provides borrowed light into adjacent interior spaces and light for live indoor plantings. The combined effect of daylight and vaulted open spaces filled with live plants provides a fresh, energetic environment. The central two-story atrium with adjacent restrooms and main stair is at the organizational heart of the school. Supervision of both corridors and handwashing areas can be achieved while standing in the atrium.

The classroom wings radiate from the central atrium with individualized painted steel entries, color-coordinated and unique to each wing. This differentiation assists the students in finding their classrooms, and provides a sense of change as they progress through grade levels in the school.

Photographers: ©Joseph Hilliard

"Bold design elements and colors...unique, bright and inviting."—2000 jury