James L. Capps Middle School

Warr Acres, Oklahoma


Putnam City Schools


170,258 sq.ft.

Total Cost


Completion Date


Inspired by Henry David Thoreau’s words, “I took a walk in the woods and came out taller than the trees,” Capps Middle School re-envisions a neighborhood park into a new, future-ready middle school. The building proper, heavily influenced by its natural setting, sits on the east and west side of a bisecting creek. Connecting the two structures is an innovation hub in the form of a 250-foot bridge positioned over the creek, with media resources, computer applications, maker labs, and broadcasting studios.

Along the creek’s east bank are three core learning neighborhoods—all of which architecturally respond to the creek’s natural dips and bends. Each neighborhood is identifiably different and draws from the site strata—a lush green top layer, the red clay soil, and the blue from the creek itself, meant to metaphorically carry eighth grade learners onto high school and beyond. Learning studios with glass operable walls open up to collaborative hubs dubbed “front porches,” many of which promote visual connections to nature. Each neighborhood embodies a departure from traditional teaching methods, encouraging a new inquiry-based model that cultivates curiosity, inspires hands-on learning, and supports the environment as a tool for teaching.

Additional Information

Associated Firm

DLR Group



Cost per Sq Ft



William W. Caudill Citation

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