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BNIM - Greensburg Schools/Kiowa County Schools Print E-mail
Tuesday, 31 May 2011 07:52

SimilarMahlum - Bainbridge High School 200 Building in Bainbridge Island, WashingtonMahlum - Bainbridge High School 200 Building in Bainbridge Island, Washington
Given the opportunity to replace teaching space and enlarge shared common areas, the client’s primary objectives for this project were to clarify campus entry, create a world-class education facility...

Kiowa-County-Schools_Assassi_03Photograph ©Farshid Assassi We continue the coverage of the AIA/COTE Top Ten Green Projects with this community oriented green school, set with a rural environment. The community of Greensburg, Kansas was nearly destroyed by an F5 tornado on the evening of May 4, 2007. All school facilities were lost in the devastation. The school district made a strategic decision to combine all its facilities into a single location to consolidate functions for greater efficiency.

This decision was driven by the desire to create the best learning environments, to keep the identity of the three age-appropriate facilities (elementary, middle, and high) within a single building, and to do so with a focus on creating the best long-term facility based on life-cycle cost.

During the design process, the decision was made to pursue LEED Platinum with a constant focus on creating the best daylight-filled educational environment to enhance student performance.

The site selection and the ultimate site development were also critical during the pre-design effort, as they placed the facility in the heart of town along Main Street, consistent with the City's comprehensive master plan. The design team worked closely with the district to select the site and to integrate the facility into the community fabric to establish a walkable community.

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Edited by Lynda Waggoner


Kiowa-County-Schools_Assassi_02The main school entrance along Main Street Photograph
Photograph ©Farshid Assassi

Kiowa-County-Schools_ContextContext: As seen in this satellite photo, the school is located in a rural town. An inset photo shows a devestated building; the town is being rebuilt after a F5 tornado destroyed 95% of the town.

Responding to the comprehensive master plan, the school was sited in a new location along Main Street to encourage density and walkability between the town’s most critical facilities and functions and to create a destination along Main Street. The town itself does not have public transportation, but the school district developed a unique arrangement with surrounding towns that shares the school’s amenities with surrounding communities in a way that consolidates resources and unites nearby communities.

The design process focused on daylight optimization in occupied spaces, because of the known impact on academic achievement. Two single-loaded academic bars, each with an east-west orientation, optimize solar orientation and prevailing breezes. The lower and middle schools are in the southern bar, which bends to allow three distinct zones for preschool, elementary, and middle school.

The high school is located on the second floor to the north and is placed above key support functions, including the cafeteria and distance-learning facilities. The placement of the high school was partially symbolic, denoting the advancement to higher grades.

Kiowa-County-Schools_Site-planThe school grounds are located along Main Street, in the heart of the community, to promote walkability and provide access to facilities that will be shared by the community.

The gymnasium is filled with daylight captured by north-facing clerestories. The mechanical system is a ground-source, closed-loop heat pump. Energy is net-zero carbon and includes an on-site wind generator supplemented by the city's wind farm. The school utilizes low-flow plumbing fixtures and waterless urinals. The building envelope uses structural insulated panels (SIPs), detailed to minimize thermal bridging, with a rainscreen system of limestone shingle, metal panels, and reclaimed wood. Materials were chosen for their environmental appropriateness, durability, recycled content, and site distance. The selection of furniture, fixtures, and equipment followed similar criteria. Each decision supports the ultimate goal of creating the best learning environment.


Environmental Aspects



In direct alignment with the town's Sustainable Comprehensive Master Plan, the USD decided to rebuild to LEED Platinum. This decision led the way for the city, which later mandated that all public buildings attain a Platinum rating. This K–12 facility combines the resources of three rural community school districts into a single facility, thereby right-sizing at a regional scale.

The USD understood the importance of daylighting for increasing student academic performance and focus, so the design optimizes daylighting and natural ventilation in all classrooms. Separate zones for kindergarten and elementary, middle, and high school grades allow students the unique learning and social opportunities that each age group requires. The design also integrates the students in key ways in order to build a sense of community, encourage mentoring, and instill a desire for achievement.

The school has a variety of community-use spaces to encourage social involvement. Fitness and athletic spaces meet the larger community's social and recreational needs. Spaces that accommodate adult education and senior citizens' activities are included as well. The program is fully optimized beyond school hours because it connects this small rural community by serving as a centralized community meeting place.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 31 May 2011 08:52
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