Austin ISD Norman-Sims Elementary School

Austin, Texas


Austin ISD


70,000 sq.ft.

Total Cost


Completion Date


Norman-Sims Elementary represents the union of two schools in the historically African American community of East Austin. Facing rapid gentrification, declining enrollment, and active competition with charter schools, the original Norman Elementary was modernized to showcase and celebrate the transformation of the educational environment with hopes of revitalizing the neighborhood. A Campus Advisory Team (CAT)—formed by a visionary new principal and including teachers from both schools, district staff, community members, and parents—spent six months in an inclusive and interactive design process to re-imagine the new campus. The Norman-Sims CAT embraced concepts around STEAM, (Science, Technology, Engineering Arts, and Math) as well as health and wellbeing, social and emotional and student-centered learning, parent and community integration, interaction, and investment.

Schools are the foundation of communities and the CAT recognized that this modernized building must be a catalyst for re-energizing and revitalizing the neighborhood. The building, which had to create a new first impression for the community, had to both showcase and put STEAM on display while being sensitive to stresses and traumas of its vulnerable student population.

The creation of the Discovery Pavilion, the new “billboard” for the modernized school, has sparked the engine of invention and innovation on campus. A new two-story building addition is anchored at the north and south by learning neighborhoods in renovated existing spaces; the third learning neighborhood is on the second floor of the Discovery Pavilion. The ground floor houses a shared maker space, media center, and art and music rooms. A public community space is accessible off the main entry vestibule and opens up into the shared collaboration area of the Discovery Pavilion. The main servery and kitchen also open into the shared collaboration area, and the fitness space and gym opens to the Discovery Pavilion and Discovery Porch.

Additional Information



Cost per Sq Ft


Featured in

2021 Architectural Portfolio

Interior category

Pre-K/Early Childhood Education

Product suppliers specified

Carpet by Shaw
Flooring by Tandus
Flooring by Tarkett USA
Flooring by Sherwin-Williams
Physical-Education Flooring by Mondo USA
Brick/Masonry by Kansas Brick & Tile
Cabinets by Mockett
Cabinets by Roseburg
Cabinets by Corian
Cabinets by Formica
Ceilings by USG
Ceilings by Hunter Douglas
Ceilings by Pinta Acoustics
Ceramic Tile by Dal-Tile
Door Hardware by Best Access Systems
Door Hardware by National Guard Products
Door Hardware by Precision Control Systems
Door Hardware by Stanley
Door Hardware by Trimco
Doors by Clopay
Elevators by ThyssenKrupp Access
Insulation by Owens Corning
Paint/Wallcoverings by PPG Industries
Plumbing by Zurn
Movable Partitions/Walls by Modernfold
Plumbing by Bradley Corporation
Plumbing by Sloan Valve
Plumbing by Watts
Plumbing by Fiat
Roofing by Versico
Windows by Guardian
Roofing by Berridge
Windows by Oldcastle Architectural
Windows by RACO
Lighting & Accessories by Lithonia Lighting
Lighting & Accessories by Mark Architectural Lighting
Lighting & Accessories by Elliptipar
Lighting & Accessories by Beghelli
Emergency Lighting by Lithonia Lighting
Emergency Lighting by Mark Architectural Lighting
Emergency Lighting by Elliptipar
Emergency Lighting by Beghelli
Fire/Life-Safety Systems by Honeywell
Fire/Life-Safety Systems by Silent Knight
Security Systems by Detex
Security Systems by Continental
Locks by Best Access Systems
Drinking Fountains by Elkay
Washroom Accessories by American Specialties
Washroom Fixtures by Zurn
Washroom Fixtures by Bradley Corporation
Washroom Fixtures by Sloan Valve
Washroom Fixtures by Watts
Washroom Fixtures by Fiat
Washroom/Shower Partitions by Metpar
Athletic Equipment by Performance Sports Systems (PSS)
Playground Equipment by Burke Flooring
Communications Systems by Panduit
Communications Systems by CommScope
Communications Systems by Chatsworth Products
Clocks/Time Management by American Time & Signal Company
HVAC Units by Carrier
HVAC Control Devices by Tridium
Draperies/Blinds by MechoShade
Kitchen Equipment by Mars
Kitchen Equipment by Metro
Kitchen Equipment by Manitowoc
Kitchen Equipment by Pentair
Kitchen Equipment by Edlund
Kitchen Equipment by T&S Brass
Kitchen Equipment by Hobart
Communications Systems by Burndy US
Laundry Equipment by Whirlpool
Lockers by Salsbury Ind.
Whiteboards / Markerboards / Chalkboards by Best-Rite
Communications Systems by Samsung Electronics
Bicycle Racks by Dero Bike Rack Co.
Plumbing by Hunter Industries
Fencing/Edging by Ameristar
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