Texas Elementary School Designed for LEED Silver

By SCN Staff

AUSTIN, Texas—The recently completed $28 million Menchaca Elementary School for the Austin Independent School District is a design-build project that has replaced an existing campus in a growing area of south Austin.

The 98,600-square-foot campus was originally conceived as a single building with interior circulation, but the design evolved through an extensive process that engaged teachers, parents and students. LPA Inc. was the architect on this impressive project. Joeris General Contractors was the general contractor.

The design features a collection of three buildings with shaded outdoor collaboration spaces designed around the existing heritage oak trees. The buildings form two courtyards linked by a second-story bridge that houses an innovative library media center and makerspaces specifically designed for the school. More than 30 percent of the site is open, vegetated space, creating direct links between the outdoors and learning environments.

With a build-out capacity of 870 students—this will account for the growth of this diverse city and the evolution of the District’s Strategic Plan. The entire process went from programming to permitting in six months.

Sustainability and energy efficiency were incorporated into every aspect of the design. Indoor water usage was cut by 30 percent and the overall energy use was reduced by 20 percent, primarily through passive measures such as building orientation, shading and strategic use of natural light. The campus is designed to meet LEED Silver certification, including a commitment to air quality and overall wellness for the students and faculty.