Replacement School with New K – 8 Configuration
This new school, located in a dense, working-class residential neighborhood in Lancaster city, replaces the 1950s era school for kindergarten through 5th grade students. The new K-8 configuration will help ease overcrowding at one of the middle schools and will serve as a model if the District decides to convert other schools to K-8 configurations in the future. The new school was constructed behind the old building, which was subsequently razed to allow for better traffic flow and additional parking.
Breaking Down the Scale of the Building
The new Elizabeth Martin School has three classrooms per grade including one dedicated special education classroom per grade. The new building is divided into two levels within the classroom wing, with shared commons spaces, such as the library, administration areas and nurse suite located on the upper level at the main, controlled entrance.
The kindergarten classrooms are paired to share a common area for teacher storage and student bathrooms with fixtures designed for smaller children. The 1st through 8th grade classrooms are arranged on two floors, with the younger grades on the first floor. Two music and two art classrooms are located in the main spines connecting the classroom wings.
Flexible Spaces for Multi-Use Practicality
Flexible learning spaces, furniture solutions and building-wide WiFi support continually evolving teaching practices. The cafeterias for 1st through 5th grade and 6th through 8th grade are separated by a folding partition wall. When opened, this space can function as a large group area. The main gymnasium will double as the auditorium. A second fitness area is provided to accommodate additional space needs for physical education classes.
LEED Silver Certified
The project, which earned LEED silver certification from the United States Green Building Council (USGBC), is partly funded by federal grants promoting sustainable initiatives. Sustainable design features include motion senors for lights, low flow plumbing fixtures and daylighting in all classrooms. Throughout the building, lower window sills and larger windows were utilized to promote daylight and outdoor connections.
Award: American School & University 2015 Architectural Portfolio, Outstanding Design Combined Level School
Photo Credit: Nathan Cox Photography