Van Alstyne Elementary #2

The design of the Van Alstyne ISD Elementary School #2 was a successful collaboration between WRA & the school district. The investment in the planning process that the school district undertook certainly resulted in a better facility for the student, teachers, and administrators of Van Alstyne ISD
— Keith Anderson AIA Partner

After months of planning leading up to a successful bond election in May of 2017, Van Alstyne Independent School District has completed the design for the new elementary school approved by the voters in that election.  Located just to the southwest of Van Alstyne middle school, the new campus will be served by a new public street connecting to highway 5 on the east and Greywood Drive on the west. The new design is the product of a collaborative process that included parents, teachers, administrators, district support staff, and the design team.  Some of the major goals established at the beginning of the project were that the building would support and enhance next generation learning, with easy access to technology throughout the building, and that the learning environments would be flexible and filled with natural light.  

A two story option was selected early on, to help maintain a compact and efficient floor plan for this building of over 80,000 square feet. The youngest students, in pre-K through 1st grade, are on the ground level while classrooms for grades 2 through 5 are on the second floor.The two story classroom wing can be secured to allow for community activities to take place after hours in the more public areas of the building, including the cafeteria, library, and gymnasium.The gymnasium includes a full-size basketball court and also serves as the school’s storm shelter. The building’s L-shaped floor plan surrounds a landscaped courtyard which provides a secure area for outdoor learning activities and student play.

Van Alstyne ISD’s second elementary school is scheduled to begin construction this summer, and will be ready to welcome its students and teachers at the beginning of the 2018-19 school year.

It has been a great experience partnering with Van Alstyne ISD to design their new elementary school. Our interaction with the district throughout the design process has helped to create a school that will best serve the unique needs of Van Alstyne ISD and the users of the space. The new elementary school will be an exciting place for the students to be and will help enhance their learning experience.
— Mitch Fuqua AIA Project Manager

Brock Primary

OPEN SUMMER 2018

After months of planning leading up to a successful bond election in November of 2016, Brock Independent School District has directed its latest planning efforts on the new primary school itself - approved by the voters in that election.  Located at the corner of FM 1189 and Eagle Spirit Lane, the new school design is the product of a collaborative process that included parents, teachers, administrators, district support staff, and the design team.  The result is an exciting new school design that will support next generation learning for the youngest students in the district.

The school’s main entrance faces FM 1189.   Separate drives for cars and for busses both enter the site from Eagle Spirit Lane.

Children approaching the main entry from the parent drop-off and the bus loop are protected from the elements by a continuous canopy along the front of the gymnasium.

Inside, the glass-enclosed reception area overlooks the main entrance as well as the entrances to the gymnasium and cafeteria.  

In the cafeteria, playful windows outlined with bright colors open to the school’s library and main corridor, while a full wall of glass provides expansive views to the courtyard, playground, and stand of trees beyond.

The library occupies the heart of the school, open and elevated on a platform, connecting the 3 grade level learning communities.

From the library, Children will enjoy views to the outdoors, and will have easy access to the small learning communities, as well as the gymnasium and cafeteria.  The diverse settings in this space will provide opportunities for a variety of individual and group learning activities.

Instead of opening off of conventional corridors, the classrooms in each of the learning communities are grouped around a flexible, open collaboration space, again, to support multiple activities and learning styles.

The playground rests in the shade of an existing grove of trees to the south of the school, shielded from the traffic on FM 1189, and safely separated from the nearby driveways by ornamental fencing.

On the opposite side of the school, a paved courtyard adjoins the library and two classroom pods, providing a setting for outdoor learning.

With the planning process quickly coming to a conclusion, the Construction of the new Brock Primary school is slated to begin this summer.  Students in pre-k, kindergarten, first and second grade, will be welcomed by their teachers to their exciting new school home in the fall of 2018.

Plano East Senior High

The dynamic and ever expanding campus of Plano East Senior High School is soon to welcome another major addition, this time in a very visible location on the school’s expansive lawn along Los Rios Boulevard. This new classroom building, one of the early projects of Plano Independent School District’s 2016 Bond Program, will allow for the removal of four temporary classroom buildings, each with four classrooms, that currently occupy space in the large parking lot on the east side of the campus.

Motorists approaching the school from the south will view the new structure wrapping around the lake in the heart of the campus. The stepped configuration of the north and west walls maintains a large portion of the school’s signature front lawn and opens views to Plano East’s main entrance. This two-story addition, matching the height of the adjacent structures, includes 19 new full-size classrooms, four smaller classrooms for specialized instruction, a large multipurpose meeting room for up to 120 occupants, and collaboration spaces to support next generation learning. 

A paved walkway with seating along the lakefront borders the new building, and provides settings for student gatherings and outdoor educational activities. Inside, the neutral color palette of the existing buildings has been brought into the addition, accented with Plano East Gold and complimentary colors. Walls of glass overlooking the lake and the broad expanse of lawn connect the indoors to the outdoors, and provide views and natural light for the student collaboration areas. These spaces, filled with soft seating and access to wireless technology, bring learning opportunities out into the circulation space, giving new and expanded purpose to the school corridor. Here, students will be able to interact in small groups, read and study individually, or work one-on-one with instructors, effectively adding space and flexibility to the adjacent classrooms.

The classrooms themselves, will also benefit from large areas of glass to bring in great natural light through north-facing windows. 
Occupants of the multipurpose meeting room will enjoy views to the lake through the expanse of windows lining the south wall. 
WRA Architects is proud to continue its long partnership with Plano Independent school district in its ongoing commitment to providing excellent educational environments for the District’s students and teachers, here at Plano East Senior High School and throughout the community.

Hollis T. Dietz Elementary

SUMMER 2017

Residents of the Heartland Community in Crandall ISD are beginning to see real evidence of the ongoing construction activity on the site of the new elementary school in their neighborhood.  Lots of work has taken place over the past several months with the excavation of the site, and the layout of the parking lots, drives, and the building footprint.  In recent weeks, however, the erection of the steel super structure has begun to give form to the building itself.  

The outline of the entire building is noe delineated by the perimeter concrete grade beam.  The grid of pier caps within that outline identifies where the steel columns will be places.  The building's floor will be constructed over a crawlspace to protect it from the movement of the expanisve clay soils in the region.  

The tall volume of the gymnasium is on the right, and the columns just now being erected on the left will support the roof over the main entrance, administration, office and library, which are in the center of the building.  The nearly completed steel framework of the cafeteria, kitchen, and music room can be seen adjacent to the gymnasium. 

The two classroom wings, which now only appear in outline, will be the last areas to framed with steel.  When the steel erection is complete, passersby will have a real sense of scale of this 72,000 sq foot building.  As the steel erectors are making great progress setting steel, the concrete workers to layout and construct the large areas of the parking lot and driveways that will provide convenient access to the school for parents, teachers, and visitors, and provide ample space for cars and buses during the busy morning drop-off and afternoon pick-up times.  

WRA Architects and Gallagher Consturction are proud to be partners with Crandall Independent School District in this exciting new project that, along with Barbara Walker Elementary School, will serve the many students of the Heartland Community

Design Presentation 

The City of Crandall is growing. 

And in response to this growth, WRA Architects and Crandall ISD are working together in partnership with Huffines Communities, on the planning of a second elementary school in the Heartland neighborhood on the north side of the district.

The School’s main entrance faces the intersection of Sunnybrook Drive and Cassinia Drive, presenting the front of the building to the community. The back of the building opens to secure playgrounds and playfields for the students to enjoy physical education and outdoor play in the most protected portion of the school grounds. The site nicely accommodates three different areas for student drop-off and also segregates all bus traffic from parent and teacher traffic. The two side parking lots are intended for teachers and after-hours events in the gymnasium and cafeteria, as well as weekend use of the outdoor areas. The visitor parking is located adjacent to the front entrance and is separated from the drive that is designated for parents dropping off and picking up their children.

The main entrance to the building is centered prominently in the front façade. The slate blue roof and the two-tone lueders limestone on the columns and window-surrounds give a warm and inviting appearance to the neighborhood school while aligning with the Heartland architectural color pallet. 

The classroom wings are clad with two shades of gray brick banding along the center bay and a tan brick blend on the side classrooms. A base of gray burnished masonry is consistent around the entire building. The lueders limestone accents and metal canopies at all windows and entrances elevate the character of the campus. Natural light is brought into perimeter classrooms through windows and into the interior classrooms through roof-mounted light monitors, so that all students enjoy the benefits of daylight in their learning environments. The aluminum window frames are a light tan color with energy-efficient, thermal insulating windows.

The gymnasium and cafeteria are connected to the bus drop-off with a metal canopy, protecting children from the elements as they arrive and depart each day. This canopy will also provide a shaded oasis for teachers and administrators as they monitor children on the playground. The cafeteria expands to fill space under the porch, providing more conditioned dining area for the students.

Crandall ISD’s newest elementary school will be a beautiful and thoughtful addition to the school district and the community. The health, safety and welfare of the students will be paramount, it will be built using sound construction practices and utilize materials, methods and equipment of proven quality and dependability. This new school will be sustainable and fully accessible; and will be economical to build, operate and maintain.

Hillcrest High School

OPENING 2018

Hillcrest High School is a historic and highly respected institution in the Dallas Independent School District. Opened in the mid 1930’s as Vickery Meadows High School, this Dallas icon has been in continuous operation for eighty years. In 1951, the modest wood frame building was expanded with a large concrete frame addition and the name changed to Hillcrest High School as it became an anchor in the developing Preston Hollow neighborhood of north Dallas. Hillcrest alumni have become leaders in all walks of life, many of them still calling Dallas their home. Since then, few changes have been made to the campus.

 

The Dallas Independent School District’s 2015 bond program will include removal of the 1930’s wood frame structure from the center of the campus. Three major additions will be constructed to provide much needed upgrades to student security, expansion of the core food service and athletic facilities, classrooms and technology to insure Hillcrest students will have the resources to lead through the 21st century.

 

The addition facing Aberdeen Avenue on the south side of the site will be the new location for the school’s main entrance, adjacent to existing visitor parking. The new reception area is located to receive visitors and have clear vision of the outside and any person who approaches the school.  The entry vestibule will be secured during school hours requiring all who enter to check-in at the main office and be badged before entry. The Hillcrest High School alumni association assisted the architect in designing a graphic timeline which will be located in the main entry corridor.

 

The Hillcrest Road addition on the west side of the site will primarily house new classrooms and classroom support spaces. The two-story addition will centralize the majority of the academic areas in the building and allow for removal of all the portable classrooms from the site. Five light wells in the new classroom addition will bring natural light into all new and existing interior classrooms. The base of the double volume light wells is designed to be student collaboration space, giving the campus a collegiate feel.

 

The new locker facility and competition gymnasium addition will be located facing Lakehurst Avenue on the north side of the campus. Taking advantage of the slope of the site, the locker room is designed to be beneath the gymnasium and lobby above. This minimizes the footprint of the building and provides direct access from the locker room to the track and field. Once the portable classrooms have been removed, the area will be used for additional parking and the construction of a legitimate loading dock for the kitchen and the school.

 

The center of the campus, which will be open space following the removal of the old competition gym, will be converted into a large, enclosed courtyard. Designed as a student and faculty amenity, the new courtyard will expand the concepts of the original smaller courtyard created and maintained with funds donated by the Park Cities Rotary Club. This outdoor space will be used for circulation, small group learning and informal gathering.

 

Thanks to the Dallas ISD 2015 Bond Program, Hillcrest High School will begin a new chapter, well-equipped to serve its students through the 21st century.

Range Elementary

OPENED SUMMER 2016

Range Elementary for Mesquite ISD

Lanny Frasier Middle School

·         New middle school for 1200 students, grades 6 through 8
 

·         2015 International Building Code requires community storm shelter

·         45 standard classrooms (15 per grade)

·         Approximately 193,000 SF

Site Specifics   

·         The primary entrance of the school faces Stadium Drive (and Peachtree Road) to the east with a secondary entrance just to the north near the fine arts, athletics and cafeteria portion of the school.

·         The site includes an 8-lane all-weather track and football field as part of the base bid. An alternate bid will be provided for grandstands that seat 1800, a concession/restroom building and field turf and stadium lighting.

·         Also included in the site plan are tennis courts, field events, an 80-yard practice field, room for future expansion on the end of the classroom wing and a learning courtyard.

·         Since the site is adjacent to the visitor parking of Mesquite Memorial Stadium, an additional secondary entrance has been provided on the northwest side of the school to take advantage of the adjacent parking during regular school hours and after-hours events. 

·         The existing connection between Scyene Road and Memorial Blvd. will be replaced with a new private driveway connection that runs between the practice field and tennis court area.

·         Due to off-site drainage requirements, a detention pond has been shown on the property to the east which will become Mesquite ISD property after a land swap with the City of Mesquite. The current water tower site just to the south will be turned over to the City. 

·         The classroom wing to the south addresses Memorial Blvd. as it is oriented east/west for optimum solar orientation.  The northern portion of the plan is rotated slightly to open up the main entrance and pull the large volume spaces back from the drop off lane.

Floor Plan Level 1

·         The primary main entrance of the school lies between the administration suite and the media center. A security vestibule contains a small conference room and RR for parent/public use to prevent public request to enter into the private portion of the building. 

·         The special instruction area lies just to the west of the administration area and contains 3 computer labs, Principles of Human Services, an MTI classroom, 2 special education classrooms and shared storage, RR and kitchen, as well as associated offices.

·         2 art classrooms have been located to the north of special instruction for direct access to the learning courtyard and have been provided with windows for north light.

·         The instructional space to the west contains 15 standard classrooms for 6th grade, 3 science labs, and a teacher collaboration workroom. To accommodate steep grades on the site, this portion of the classroom wing has been raised 32” and will be provided with 2 sets of short stairs and a ramp to provide access.

·         The media center will be provided with punched opening windows to the east and a storefront window wall system to the corridor wall to bring in as much borrowed natural daylight as possible as well as providing transparency between the library, the main corridor and the learning courtyard. 

·         The fine arts area contains a band, orchestra and choir hall as well as a drama classroom with access to the cafeteria stage.

·         The cafeteria has been designed to seat over 450 students to accommodate 3 lunch periods and account for future growth. The kitchen area will have 4 serving lines with overhead doors to reduce congestion.

·         The physical education/athletics area is provided with a competition gymnasium that will seat the entire student body of 1200, a practice gym that will seat 150 spectators, and two secondary entrances with covered porches to the southeast and southwest of the gymnasiums.

·         The boys and girls athletic and physical education locker rooms are located to the north of the gymnasiums and will house the community storm shelter required on this project by building code. This area allows for optimum design and economic feasibility to provide a shelter large enough to house all students and staff for the school and will be structural designed to withstand 250 mph winds equal to an EF-5 tornado and provide protection for up to 2 hours after an emergency situation. This includes battery backup for lights, a generator to run mechanical ventilation for fresh air, fresh water, first aid kits and fire protection.

 

 

Floor Plan Level 2

 

·         The second floor will include 30 standard classrooms, 6 science labs, and a teacher collaboration workroom and will include 7th and 8th grade. Also included on this level is the Technology Lab and 2 MTI classrooms.

·         Access to the second floor will be provided between 3 stairwells located at the ends and center of the classroom wing as well as an elevator near the technology lab at the second floor and administration area on the first floor.

·         All of the standard classrooms as well as the program located along the exterior wall will be provided with windows for natural daylight and sunshading devices for protection during the harsh warm months.

Vanston Middle School

The results of Mesquite Independent School District’s 2015 capital improvement program can be seen all over the district, including an addition to Vanston Middle School.
 
The foundation is complete and the structural steel frame for the two story building is finished, as well.  The interior stud framing for the first and second floor is well underway, and the roof decking placement has reached completion. Roofing and exterior masonry will begin very soon in an effort to bring this building to completion by the end of the 2016/2017 school year.
 
The metal stud framing and sheathing of the exterior wall can be seen along the addition that, when complete, will house (10) classrooms, (2) science labs, a drama room and a band hall.  All this will allow the single classroom buildings clustered on the south and north side of the existing building to be removed from the site.
 
Other new features to this addition that have already been completed include a new (6) lane track and football field, (2) new tennis courts, and adjacent parking. A revised service area and staff parking will follow the schedule of the building addition.
 
WRA Architects shares the excitement of the Vanston Middle School community and Mesquite ISD as this important new addition takes shape.

Washington Heights

FALL 2016

Washington Heights Elementary School is a replacement school located in Northside Fort Worth, on the south side of West Long Avenue, between Clinton Avenue and North Houston Street.  The location of the existing underground school and parking lot required that the new school building be located in the current playfield area, at the north end of the site. Meacham International Airport is northwest of the school, across the street from Long Avenue.

Washington Heights ES serves grades Pre-K through 5th, including 21 standard classrooms, in addition to an assortment of special use rooms, allowing for a maximum capacity of 500 students. The building is organized around an 'equator' line (main corridor), dividing the school between public spaces on the south, and private spaces on the north.  Public spaces include the administration, gymnatorium, cafeteria and library.  The gymnatorium and cafeteria have direct access to the playgrounds and fenced-in playfields.  Multiple south-facing canopies provide outdoor shade cover for teachers near the playgrounds.  The private spaces, or grade-level classrooms, are located along the north side of the building to take advantage of the north light.

The proximity of the airport to the school made classroom acoustics a top priority for Fort Worth ISD and WRA Architects. The classrooms respond to this concern by rotating clockwise, turning windows away from the airport.  The west walls of the building limit windows to a bare minimum, and are solid masonry to keep much of the noise outside.

Positioned on a compact 3.8 acre site, the footprint was minimized through the design of a two story scheme, an underground storm detention system and head-in on-street parking.  This allowed more play fields and playgrounds on the south end of the site as well as conserving the existing parent-funded playground. 

The two-story school design, solar orientation, natural day-lighting in all classrooms and high-efficiency HVAC system with energy monitoring allow for a significant decrease in energy consumption.

Ralph Bunche Elementary

SUMMER 2015

Bunche ES serves grades Pre-K through 6th, including 38 standard classrooms, in addition to an assortment of special use rooms, allowing for a maximum capacity of 800 students. Every grade level has a large collaboration space adjacent to the standard classrooms as well as a teacher collaboration room.  Glass walls from the classrooms into the community spaces allow teachers and staff the ability to easily monitor activities in both spaces.  The library books will be dispersed throughout the community collaboration areas with shelves on casters.  In addition, the majority of the stack space in the library is on casters in order to maximize flexibility. 

WRA’s many years of specilization in the design of PK-12 grade school facilities brought a level of understanding and creativity that the district was looking for in the design of its first new elementary school in over 20 years”
— James Riggen, COO Midland ISD

One key design element includes the word wall tribute to Ralph Bunche along Main Street.  This space is complete with a translucent roof assembly that brings natural light down into 1st floor classrooms. 

Positioned on a 9.5 acre site, the footprint was minimized through the design of a two story scheme.  This allowed more play fields on the south end of the site as well as a large playground area to the west of the gymnasium.

 The two-story school design, solar orientation and HVAC 4 pipe system with energy monitoring allow for a significant decrease in energy consumption. Additional sustainable features to the school, include, natural day-lighting in the majority of learning spaces and sophisticated LED lighting controls for the daylight zones.

Memorial Stadium

Renovated Fall 2015

Memorial Stadium was built in 1976 and was approaching 40 years of age with very minimal improvements since the original construction date.

Memorial Stadium has a capacity of 20,000 (one of the largest high school only stadiums in Texas), is used by all five high schools for football, soccer and band and is the site of high school playoff games.

 The goals of the renovation and addition were to;

1.       Bring the facility up to current building, accessibility and energy codes.

2.       Provide better security by separating performing students and spectators from the time of arrival until the end of the event.

3.       Student and equipment parking and drop off area at north end zone field level to prevent buses and trucks backing up onto Scyene Rd.

4.       Enlarged concourse circulation area for better spectator access to restrooms and concessions.

5.       Removal of bleachers to open up the spectator view from the concourse to the field.

6.       Enlarged and relocation of the locker rooms to field level.

7.       Enhance the appearance of the exterior of the facility.

8.       Enlarged pressbox with elevator access and spaces designed for Texas 5A high school football game requirements.

9.       Enlarged concessions queing, cooking and serving spaces.

Farmersville Stadium

The project consisted of a new multi-level press box, New Concession building, New turf field, and new 8 lane track.

The district requested that there be an element that would act as a billboard for the traffic passing by on adjacent highway.    So we located the concession building on the east end of the field and the east elevation acts as this.

The community and visitors will enter the stadium at the east end at the new concession building.  As people walk through the entrance they will pass by the past champions monument wall that honors previous champions from the district. 

The new concession building houses both home and visitors restrooms.  It is positioned on the east end zone at an elevator level to create a bowl effect for spectators as they get concessions and walk from the entrance to both the home and visiting bleachers.

The new multi-level press box with elevator includes coaches rooms, press, Public address, radio, Rest rooms, and dignitary rooms for administration and sponsors.  It also has a large exterior area for videography and accessible seating.  The sound reinforcement was upgraded to top of the line equipment as well. 

The existing track was a 7 lane track which was expanded to an 8 lane track which will allow the district to now host district area track meets.  It includes new pole vault runways, high jump area, and jump pits.  The field is all new artificial turf that replaces the natural grass field. 

A new scoreboard was installed on the west end of the track.

Renderings of the Project

Legacy Christian Academy Phase 2

With Phase II of its Upper School Facility, Legacy Christian Academy will be one step closer to completing their Legacy. The Upper School will now be complete.

·         The 60,350sf addition will provide a new state-of-the-art media center, band and choir rehearsal halls, drama facilities, a 600-seat auditorium, administrative offices, 14 additional classrooms, a technology lab and a new art classroom. 

·         The Upper School will also now have a full service kitchen that will allow their ever-expanding student population to have additional dining options.

·         Adding a new art classroom frees up space in the existing portion of the Upper School to add another science classroom.

January 2016 Construction Update

Server & Data Center

The MEP portion of the project was fairly complex, and was designed as follows: The existing server farm was consolidated from multiple rooms into one large server room which was expanded to accommodate server racks and related equipment. The enlarged room and IT infrastructure was sized to handle the district's future IT needs based on an eventual complete build out of the district. The upgraded facility was also designed with enough flexibility to handle IT changes anticipated over time. The racks' design heat load was 6-10 kW per rack, and the new HVAC and electrical systems were designed for N+1 redundancy. An overhead air supply system, served by packaged roof top A/C units (two 10-ton units), addressed building thermal loads such as walls, roof, people, lights, and ventilation air. The air supply ductwork was interlaced to allow for redundancy so that a failure of one RTU would not hinder operations in any way. These units also provided positive air pressure, continuously forcing air out of the space to prevent unconditioned outside air, dust, dirt, and debris from entering the space and jeopardizing the equipment. These units are also equipped with a higher level of air filtration, an ASHRAE filter effectiveness rating of MERV 13, which removes not only dust, but also paint pigments, bacteria and smoke from the air. The server racks included in-row cooling units, with variable speed fans, that provided for a hot aisle-cold aisle arrangement with physical enclosures used around the racks to allow this scheme to function properly. A few of the in-row cool-ing units included humidification capabilities to maintain a minimum relative humidity while the units also limit the maximum relative humidity in the space. The cooling units are served by a chilled water system with piping that is routed in a concrete trench below the equipment and which includes drains and a water detection and alarm sys-tem. An outdoor packaged air cooled specialty (customized) chiller was utilized to serve this system. It includes dual parallel pumps, variable frequency drives, and multiple chiller modules. It also has enough space and capacity for the addition of future chiller modules and independent stand-alone controls so that no single component failure would hinder meeting load. The chiller was also set up for variable flow. Initially 80 tons of chiller capacity was in-stalled with the capability to expand to approximately 130 tons. Make-up water to the humidifiers was filtered to prevent fouling sensitive components. A fire suppression system was provided to serve this space in order to mini-mize the use of a wet pipe sprinkler system as much as possible. A new 80 kW Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) system with battery back-up (15-30 minutes capacity), was installed with expansion capabilities. A stand-by power supply system of generators was also incorporated into this project which included the re-use of two existing smaller generators and the addition of a new 750 kW generator. The stand-by system can also be expanded by one addi-tional 500 kW generator in the future as needed. Dual circuited Power Distribution Units (PDUs) were provided for each row of equipment racks.