Following a planning study, Christner designed this new elementary school and early childhood education center. We divided the volume of the K-4 elementary school into a series of smaller units interspersed with courtyards and active play areas. The freestanding early childhood education center is linked by an entry plaza to the elementary school. Our primary goal was to help make a stimulating and comfortable learning environment for 750 children. We integrated ample natural daylight, connections to the outdoors, and active spaces designed to encourage interaction.
Size: 92,000 sf
Status: Completed 2004
The elementary school was constructed on sloping, rocky terrain. To take advantage of this, Christner designed an outdoor classroom that also functions as an informal amphitheater for all-school events.
The centrally located main entrance provides quick access to the administration area and larger gathering spaces including the cafeteria, gymnasium and media center.
An outdoor plaza links the cafeteria and early childhood center (foreground), giving the youngest children a separate environment and the ability to share resources with the elementary school.
Daylight floods into colorful skylights and large windows throughout the building creating a warm, welcoming atmosphere.
We organized each classroom wing by grade level to share an art and science classroom that is a hub for 'neighborhood' activities.
To help children find their way, Christner created orientation points throughout the building using colorful patterns designed into the floor tiles, wall colors and coordinating signage.
The media center serves as a gathering place for children. Informal reading areas are created with comfy beanbag chairs, in addition to the more formal learning spaces and computer lab.