Designing a new elementary in North Liberty, part of the Iowa City Community School District, presented considerable site challenges. Situated between a residential neighborhood and a commercial district, the site had extensive slope, a nearby busy street, and limited access. We worked closely with the building committee to establish priorities: ample daylight, visual connectivity, collaboration space, and safety.
The design team created a two-level walkout structure that effectively addressed site slope, provided direct connections for easy supervision of nearby playground areas, sheltered the building from the busy street, and provided more site area for good traffic flow. Within the building, shared collaboration spaces were carefully introduced and strategically situated to support the district educational delivery model. Safety was designed throughout the building and includes a storm shelter in one of the wings, which provides a safe place for students and staff in severe weather.