Greenwood Elementary School
Functional Design Meets 21st Century Amenities
Originally constructed in 1956 and renovated over the years, the Greenwood Elementary School campus in American Fork, Utah, was recently rebuilt to bring it up to current code standards and address the current educational needs of students. Curtis Miner Architecture (CMA) worked with the Alpine School District to design a phased rebuild that would allow the students to remain on site throughout the construction of the new school.
CMA’s architectural design solution saved approximately 20,000 square feet of the existing school and created 61,800 square feet of new construction. It relocated the entry and provided the facility with a new presence on the street front, while also integrating a new secure entry.
21st century learning opportunities were an important part of the new school design. Working with the owner, CMA was able to incorporate collaborative work areas, state-of-the-art Makerspace, and wider halls that allow for both small and large group break-out spaces for unique learning methods. These spaces provide flexible project-based, creative 21st century learning environments that address the changing needs of today’s students, including opportunities for one-on-one learning with student peers, paraprofessionals, and teachers.
The new facility design provides more transparency and visibility between classrooms and hallways, allowing teachers to more easily monitor students who are active in these spaces in addition to their classroom full of students.
Out with the Old and in with the New (Sort of)
The School District wanted to keep a recently added portion of the existing building that was still in good condition. While approximately 50,000 square feet of the original building was demolished, our innovative architectural design allowed contractors to rebuild the facility around the preserved 20,000 square feet.
To accomplish this unconventional design feat, CMA’s design specialists developed phased construction, which was critical to keeping students in school during the entire construction. We did this by designing temporary entry and exit points while others were blocked off. Additionally, we used drone photography and videography to monitor progress throughout construction.
While the new space was being built, the existing 20,000 square foot building was also remodeled, including new ceilings, lighting, paint, flooring, and more. A major focus for both the existing and new spaces was to incorporate natural light. It has been proven that daylighting in educational facilities has a direct impact on improved student attitudes and test scores, so the entire building now has a variety of natural light sources.
A Cohesive and Sustainable 21st Century Education Facility
The completed Greenwood Elementary school is closer to the street than a typical school, so it was important that the design blend in with the surrounding residential neighborhood. CMA minimized the height of the building and matched the exterior brick and the entire front façade, resulting in a sleek facility that balances the old and new spaces in such a way that it’s impossible to tell these were not once a single, cohesive facility.
This project was highly successful, as CMA was able to deliver the students and faculty a well-designed facility with enhanced 21st century educational experiences – all within the existing site. As Curtis Livingston shared, “The most rewarding part of my job is to walk into a completed project and see the students and staff utilizing the space as it was designed. Knowing that the space our team worked so hard to design provides an environment for learning, creativity, and growth makes all the hard work worth it.”