East / West Ward Elementary School
The new East / West Ward Elementary School will replace two 60-year-old campuses, combining them into one new, holistic learning environment. The compact 3-story building blends district design standards with innovative thinking to achieve spacial efficiency and maintain equitability. By going vertical, the team was able to make the most of a small, 8-acre site to maximize parking and other exterior amenities. At 152,000 sf and with a capacity of 1,300 students, the new elementary school will be a point of pride for the surrounding community and all who attend.
Building planning focuses on efficiency, function and ease of wayfinding. Major spaces front a main corridor with simple-to-navigate secondary corridors that lead to modernized classroom space. The youngest students occupy the lowest levels, which minimizes younger students traversing stairs. The design of the school incorporates glazing to illuminate the interior spaces with natural light. An integrated cistern on the site will serve multiple purposes, including gathering rain water for irrigation, improving aesthetics and providing opportunities for relevant science studies; it also provides a safe alternative to a pond. A double-height library will be fun and functional for students, and durable masonry veneer is included to help maintain the space for years to come.