Highland Park Elementary

Location: Stillwater, Oklahoma
Program: Pre-K to 5th Primary School
LEED Certification: Pending Silver
Status: Complete, 2014
Collaborative Partners: Selser Schaeffer
Photography: © Ralph Cole Photography
Selected Recognition: 2014 Large Commercial Merit Award Winner, AIA Eastern Oklahoma.

The Highland Park Elementary School accommodates approximately 700 students from pre-kindergarten through the 5th grade.  Located in Stillwater Oklahoma on a densely vegetated 24 acre lot bounded by State Highway 51 and Drury Street, the programmed building area assists in preserving over 90% of the site as open space. Sited north, the landscape provides a buffer from vehicular sound and pollution. More than a mile of driveway weaves through the thick conifers where upon arrival, the main entry is marked by a prominent clock tower at the highest peak of the undulating ribbon-like metal roof. The core of the school is the Cafeteria, Kitchen and Gymnasium/Auditorium. Centered in this public space is a “focus” tree planted in the circular atrium. Glass corridors loop to the east and west lined with colorfully glazed brick “school houses” grouped by grade containing 28 core classrooms with additional special instruction and need-based classrooms, administration offices and the Library/Media Center. The playful arrangement of the houses maximizes daylighting, creates secondary entry points and bounds the outdoor educational courtyards. Within the courtyards are vegetable and flower gardens, rain cisterns for irrigation, large concrete letters and numbers marching along a trike track, classroom seating under a shade tree are components to promote students’ appreciation of nature.