Project Type: New Construction Elementary School
Client: Rochester Public Schools ISD 535
LHB began working with Rochester Public Schools on their $171.4 bond referendum which included asking their community to vote in favor of the construction of three elementary schools and a middle school. Upon successfully passing the referendum, LHB and local Rochester firm CRW Architecture and Design Group have worked together with Rochester Public Schools and Knutson Construction to design the projects.
Overland Elementary School, located on District property at Schmidt Park in Rochester, Minnesota, will be a new two-story school that will serve 720 students in kindergarten through fifth grade. Preserving the green space and park area around the site has been a driving factor in the design of the school. There is an existing tree grove on a knoll at the northern part of the site with well-established trees that will be preserved. For the safety the students, parents, staff and visitors, the site design includes a separate bus loop from the main parking lot and deliveries. Students will be able to use the bus loop as a hard-surface play area in addition to the playgrounds. The design has two playgrounds to allow for students to be separated by grade.
The new school will include three two-story classroom wings with support areas that include flexible space for small group instruction, student collaboration, and project-based learning. The main entry opens to the cafeteria and the core of the building where shared spaces such as the gymnasium, art music rooms, and auxiliary support spaces for classes and the community. Special Education rooms are integrated throughout the building in the main core and classroom wings.
Student safety and security has been an overarching theme throughout the design, including the site layout, exterior facades, building plan and interior features. This includes windows to see into the corridors from the classrooms as passive observation to address day to day actions of students. They can also be used for staff monitoring the classroom without being a distraction to the students. Each wing has the ability to lock down in case of an emergency or to keep them secure if the building is used by the public after-hours.
Creating an energy-efficient and healthy building were also main project goals. Key factors like the HVAC system, daylighting, and building materials are being used to provide a healthy and sustainable environment for students.