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Three Rivers Elementary School

Owner: Three Rivers Independent School District
Completion: Summer 2014
Capacity: 460 students
Construction Cost: $13,200,000
Building Area: 60,600 square feet
Cost per Sq. Ft.: $188

The previous Three Rivers Elementary campus was a 50 year old cluster of disconnected buildings with exterior access between each. Monitoring, keeping students centralized and ensuring safety & security of students were near impossible to achieve. During the design of the new elementary facility, visibility from the administration node was critical, to solve many of the problems of the old campus. The new elementary was designed to ensure security, safety and ease of monitoring; provided largely by a single, secure entry with the ability to observe the entry, library, corridors, cafeteria/gymnasium entry and student restrooms from a single point.

The new Three Rivers Elementary facility has 25 classrooms, a modern library integrated with technology hub of the campus, a cafetorium and gymnasium that integrate community use outside of school hours, a protected courtyard to house a play area and a community garden and outdoor learning environments.

Energy conservation was achieved through the use of deep overhangs around the building; low heat-gain roof materials; deep canopy covers at all entries; and insulated translucent panels at the library, gymnasium, cafeteria and classrooms to capture natural daylight and reduce reliance on traditional lighting. In order to provide a sustainable facility, a key focus of this project was to utilize durable, long-life materials, such as high-density dry wall to reduce maintenance waste and replacement over the lifetime of the building.

In a small oil & gas town with the schools serving as the central civic focus of the community, the new elementary school sits at the gateway to the district. Administration capitalized on this location and used the opportunity to provide facilities to the community by creating a community node within the school, made up of the gymnasium and cafetorium. The grand entrance was aesthetically designed, but included safety & security features restricting access to the rest of the campus.

A frequent concern designing facilities on tight schedules, such as this, is full engagement from all parties in the process of imagining needs of students and faculty—and the potential of a facility to serve these needs—until late in the process. We bridged this gap by inviting stakeholders to fully realize their new facility by presenting each space as described by the facilities committee rendered in 3D, using interactive boards to engage them in the process of creating & shaping the spaces to improve and enhance student learning.

The importance of teaching students the skills to discover their world and to learn to learn becoming a more central focus in education was essential to express in the design of the new elementary school. The administration wanted a library / media center central to the campus—a space where students could engage in the learning and discovery process independently. We combined the media center with the technology hub of the campus, to serve each other with their own strengths in this endeavor.

This project was designed by Antonio Naylor & Clifton Stuckey while working at Fromberg Associates in Austin, Texas.

About Reliance

Reliance Architecture brings Value, Management, Partnership and Convenience to school and public architecture in Central Texas. At Reliance Architecture, we are responsive to the unique needs and values of each of our clients, using our expertise, experience and technology to make the design and building process of more value to our clients while making it simple and easy to navigate.

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