Fort Worth ISD Westpark Relief Elementary School at Ventana
When programming and planning for a new elementary school standard, Fort Worth ISD expressed their desire for something new and different to support next-generational and progressive thinking regarding school design! The new Westpark Relief Elementary School at Ventana is designed to serve Fort Worth ISD students from Pre-Kindergarten through the 5th grade. The new 120,000sf facility will support forward-thinking educational goals and strategies creating a truly unique, inspiring, and open collaborative environment for elementary learning with an enhanced focus on transparency, flexibility, natural light, and secure connectivity to the outdoor environment.
On a site that slopes over 30 feet from high to low, a creative stacking approach is utilized by aligning the building footprint with the site’s dramatic natural topography. The building orientation and sectional approach takes advantage of a split-level design by locating the primary entrance and community spaces on the upper most level with upper grade classrooms located on the lower level. This planning strategy reduces site disturbance while minimizing grading, cutting, and filling of the existing site. This creative and innovative idea also promotes social and educational connectivity while ensuring students are never more than a single floor away from the social and academic heart of the school. The resulting stacked student courtyards are filled with natural daylight and facilitates direct visibility from all levels.
The main entry level includes Central Administration spaces, the school’s Cafeteria, Multi-Purpose Room, and Gymnasium along with Pre-Kindergarten, Kindergarten and 1st Grade Classrooms with access and views into active, collaborative and outdoor leaning on both the upper and lower levels of the new school. The interior environment opens to the signature split level Media Center space surrounded by two interior courtyards serving as extensions to the adjacent learning environments. The lower level core academic classroom wings serving the school’s 2nd through 5th grade classrooms become natural extensions from the central Media Center with indoor and outdoor collaboration pods dispersed throughout each wing. Art and Science Labs are active and on display with direct access to protected and visible outdoor learning. The configuration of the unique classroom wings also serve to protect outdoor play areas and outdoor learning pavilions at both the north and south ends of the campus.