Youth’s Benefit Elementary School – LEED Silver
A feasibility study looked at four options for the existing Youth’s Benefit Elementary School complex. The existing campus consists of a grades 1–2 primary center, a separate kindergarten building, and a 3–5 intermediate center. The site is currently overcrowded with over 1,000 students resulting in limited parking and severe congestion during arrival and dismissal.
Multiple options were considered. The key to the success of the selected option was developing a phasing plan where the new 2-story addition could be constructed between the existing buildings while the original buildings remained operational. The existing primary and intermediate buildings will be demolished with a phased construction plan.
The building consists of a large 2-story area with an attached U-shaped portion corresponding with the second floor. A large courtyard amphitheater will be accessible from both the lower and upper floor levels for outdoor learning and large group instruction. The large 2-story area will house a gymnasium with a stage, kitchen, cafeteria, mechanical room, receiving area, art, music, special ed, media center, student services, specialist’s areas, a flexible classroom, and grades Pre-K to 2 classrooms with support spaces. The administration/nurse’s suites will be located on the first floor and serve the main entrance along with parent/bus drop-off and parking for visitors. The U-shaped portion will house grades 3–5, special education, two flexible classrooms, and support spaces.
A new upper level parking lot will be provided at what was once the existing bus/parent drop-off at the demolished primary building. This parking lot will serve as staff parking during the day. In the evening, it will serve as parking for the adjacent Parks & Rec baseball fields. The new service drive will be located off of this parking lot. The bus drop-off will be centrally located at the main entrance of the new building. A separate parent drop-off with additional visitor and staff parking is to be located beyond the bus drop-off in the location of the demolished intermediate building. All traffic flow configurations are designed to segregate bus/car traffic and maximize the site use as much as possible.
Currently on track for LEED Silver certification with USGBC, materials from the demolition of the old school were recycled while regional materials and recycled content were used for new construction. High solar reflectance asphalt shingles cover the many sloped roofs, helping to keep the facility cool during warmer months. Mechanical units are located in mezzanines to reduce weather exposure and extend the life of the units, improving operating efficiency and providing easier maintenance access. The cafeteria will have a recycling station to educate students on how to properly sort their used items while learning the benefits of recycling and reducing landfill waste.