Pleasant Ridge Elementary brings students from three aging schools together into one new home. Two STEM Labs, a Makerspace, and easy access to outdoor areas provide instructional opportunities not possible in the older facilities. Designed to be fresh and uplifting, special attention was given towards the impact and physiological effects of color on learning. A “Heritage Wall” greets visitors and students with images that recall the local history, plus a video feature highlights current news and upcoming events. To help with wayfinding each of the corridors features a theme color and name – selected by the students.
Construction was carefully planned so that an existing school next door could remain fully functional while the new work was underway. In designing elementary schools an important consideration is site circulation. Here, students enter directly into the dining room for the morning breakfast program from the bus drop-off or car drop-off on either side. Two challenges were incorporating one wing from the existing school as well as mitigating a 70-foot topography change.
Materials and finishes were chosen with proven life-cycle value in mind. The structure is load-bearing concrete block, hallways and assembly spaces have terrazzo floors. The design goal was a solution that is highly efficient and incorporates the owner’s maintenance preferences.
Pleasant Ridge Elementary School
Early Childhood School/Elementary School
Gastonia, North Carolina
Brian Pence @ Clear Sky Images