Jefferson County Public Schools sought to combine two west end elementary schools, creating a community hub sharing amenities and its campus with the new Republic Bank Foundation YMCA to make it happen. The new elementary school will be 79,000 SF over two stories with a capacity to serve 650 students.
The shared site with the new YMCA allows two organizations to share amenities, including the gymnasium, playgrounds, tech center, and library. But sharing the site also created additional logistical challenges to contend with, such as a narrow footprint, parking, and bus accommodations which our design team overcame. Together with the YMCA, this elementary school will create a new neighborhood hub for health and education to anchor this critical intersection in west Louisville.
Schools are a critical community structure and require community support to thrive. The staff from Roosevelt-Perry and Wheatly elementary schools, who will now be using this new facility, provided critical input to the design process. Two community meetings also helped the design team understand how this school can best serve the neighborhood.
Educational spaces benefit from flexible designs that can adjust to changing user needs and pedagogies.
- To support project-based learning, the art and science rooms have a studio-style design with concrete floors for easier cleaning. Pull-down power serves each table to accommodate different projects. Since the science and art rooms are side-by-side with a flexible wall between them, the space can expand to host larger groups of students for different programming potential.
- To give the students a variety of areas where they can learn, engage, and move, each grade corridor has an additional collaboration zone with whiteboard, technology access, and carpet.
- For greater flexibility and unity between the computer lab and library, a folding glass partition connects the spaces. As technology evolves, the school will be able to easily adjust the spaces. The library is also very adaptable with movable furniture.
The interior design incorporates biophilia to support a connection with nature. The carpets look like moss and the paint colors were inspired by the outside world. Natural materials were also incorporated, such as a wood slat cloud ceiling in the library that visually defines this multipurpose space.
The new school will meet its sustainability goals with storm water collection and filtering, a geothermal system, daylight harvesting, and low-flow plumbing fixtures.