Fulton Elementary School

A level playing field

The School District’s dilemma prior to undertaking this project was parity. It offered its students several elementary schools, but residents in a particular area had children attending Grade Centers at two separate locations. The solution was to combine the Grade Centers into one new 550 student elementary school. Located near a Historic District, the new school features some of today’s best design and building technologies with a tribute to the past. Influenced by the Prairie-style, the environmentally friendly building sits among open fields, parkland and a residential neighborhood.

An active, engaged community produces motivated, inspired learners.

With this in mind, the District and Architect worked closely with other governmental agencies and private organizations to develop the site. As a result, the school is the anchor to a community-focused campus, shared with the local Athletic Commission and softball team. Students not only have access to a variety of athletic and open spaces, but they will have a sense of pride and involvement in knowing the significant role that their new school plays for the community.

Feel right at home

The new school is organized based on the primary objectives of the program.  The stakeholders indicated that the Media Center was to be a hub for the school and to serve as the school’s “Family Room.” The resulting building plan features a Media Center that acts as a pivot point of the two main wings and creates an inviting image for the campus from the street.  It’s story and a half volume helps to define a front courtyard between the Administration Center and the new school.  Internally, the Media Center is located to provide easy access to all students and perform multiple functions.  In addition to serving as a resource for a large collection of books and multimedia, it functions as a space for small group learning.  It also has been designed to house a production area.  The focal element of the Media Center is an oak veneer reading nook that gives the space a sense of warmth with a residential ambiance.

Healthy Indoor Air Quality can lead to better attendance and better grades.

From Day 1, students benefit from the selection of materials that are free of the chemicals that can make children sick. In fact, the state-of-the-art, energy efficient ventilation system actually cleans the air before it goes into the classroom with ultra-violet sterilization lights that keep coils clean and free from mold and mildew.

Natural lighting improves test scores

Natural lighting in the classrooms provide a better learning environment and improved test scores. An added bonus is the school’s use of daylight harvesting. Not only are the fixtures energy efficient, but an energy saving smart system in each classroom dims the lights based on the amount of available sunlight.

Students that feel safe are able to focus on their studies.

Nestled in a residential setting, the School was designed with safety in mind. Public access is limited and the areas for community use can be locked down from the rest of the school. Client requested minimal exterior window glazing due to security concerns. This was solved by integrating narrow expanses of vertical glazing into the design. The result is that the windows actually define exterior rhythms and are a key component of the Prairie Style appearance. Additionally, the sill height of the windows varies based upon the ages of the children that would be occupying the spaces.

Technology is a key component of education today.

Today’s students need to know more than the basics of Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic. Technology is now a fundamental component in the learning process. Teachers at the school are equipped with today’s essential multi-media equipment in every classroom. In addition, every student will be provided a laptop with wireless access to the school’s network, ensuring they are computer literate and technologically advanced.

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