Mead Elementary School
A contemporary facility designed to reinforce the school’s “All School Movement Program” and embrace its immediate context within an agrarian community.
2020 A4LE Peak Design Merit Award
St Vrain Valley School District
Nestled in a growing bedroom community along an Interstate, the renovation and addition to Mead Elementary School includes a reimagined 70,000 sf building that serves Pre-K through grade 5 as well as new play areas, fields, entry plaza, and an outdoor classroom amphitheater built into a natural hillside. The transformed school serves 650 students and an expanded Special Needs program while incorporating program strategies to support the “All-School Movement Program.” A learning methodology that “creates a lifelong relationship with fitness while also employing current research that shows how movement prepares the brain for learning,” the design and adjacencies of indoor and outdoor spaces create experiences that support continuous student movement and learning.
The main entry plaza is designed as a movement plaza for all-school movement gatherings, supported by a stage/music room (AV) and raised platform/ porch area. Within the classroom areas, break-out zones create dedicated areas for movement breaks, housing exercise equipment that is easily accessible to the classroom pods. The gym takes center stage in the building, showcasing an agrarian “barn” volume with views from adjacent common areas of the building, and overlooked by “the hayloft,” just outside the media center.
The overarching design aesthetic of barn-like volumes echoes the stakeholders’ desire for the building to reference Mead’s history, community, and context. With agrarian roots dating back to the early 1900’s, the school’s forms and color palette creates a dialogue with the community while creating a sense of play and whimsy for children. Complemented by lighting and colorful acoustic baffles that reinforce the scale and perspective of the building users, high volume spaces bring daylight deep into the building, creating healthy spaces to move and grow.
The design team found inspiration in the local agrarian building aesthetic... A monument to the history of the site would be central to making the new building feel like home.