Entry number: B09009
Project Name: J.E. Manch Elementary School
Building Type: Institutional / Educational
Completion Date: August 2009
Building Location: 4351 Lamont St. Las Vegas, NV
Type of Construction: Type V-A
Materials Used: Structural Insulated Panels, Stucco
Building Area: approx. 70,000 sf
SSA Architecture, Small Studio Associates, LLC
Architect of Record: Kenneth C. Small, Jr.
Client/Owner/Developer: Clark County School District
Interior Designer: Kenneth C. Small, Jr.
Landscape Architect: Richard Marriotti
Structural Engineer: Toby Peterson
Electrical Engineer: Tom Anderson
Mechanical Engineer: Vic Sibilla
Civil Engineer: Brandon Potts
General Contractor: Martin-Harris Construction
Photographer: Martin-Harris Construction
Educational Planning Professional:
Lead Designers: Ken Small & Alan Wendelboe
Statement of Design Approach:
E. Manch Elementary School is an at risk school located in a lower income neighborhood in North Las Vegas. The original school was built in the 1940s with subsequent buildings added over the years. The design team evaluated this facility recommending which buildings to keep, renovate, or demolish. The main design approach was to develop a design that would help inspire children to learn. The designers wanted to design a school where children would be excited to go and learn. The school building itself would become a teaching tool for students to learn about building design, construction, and systems. View windows are scattered throughout the school allowing children to see how the building was constructed and what systems operate the building. Nearby Nellis Air Force Base has influenced the design of the school with the theme of flight. The theme of flight has taken many shapes and ranged from insects, to birds, to kites, to manned flight throughout. The design approach for the campus was a school within a school. The front entry is designed with a security vestibule requiring you to go through the office for entry into the school. The school has been designed around interior and exterior courtyards. This design provides for continued school operation during a security lock down. This concept includes five house-learning pods. The kindergarten pod contains four classrooms that surround an open-air teaching courtyard. The other four house learning pods each contain grades 1 thru 5 with windows that view the central interior common space. This provides supervision and a house that is more like a family. The multipurpose/lunchroom room opens to an enclosed courtyard for play and for outdoor eating. There are several other enclosed learning and play courtyards located throughout the campus.
This design process included input from the teacher and community, 3D computer modeling of the campus with existing and new buildings with various design solutions. Using this tool, our client was effectively able to visualize our design solutions without the need for built models.
J. E. Manch Elementary School is a phased replacement project for Clark County School District. The design team was tasked with rejuvenating a dilapidated, at risk, lower income neighborhood school. A 70,000 sf, state of the art elementary school, designed to LEED Gold Standards resulted. The structural system and thermal envelope are structural insulated panels that are environmentally friendly, thermally excellent and reduce construction time. The planning process brought together consultants, faculty, and community members through a series of charrettes. Ideas from the charrettes were integrated into the school design. The master plan proposed a phased replacement/renovation that updated the facility to modern educational standards. Manch's success built on several key issues: local resources; visual orientation and safety; reflection of the school's image on itself; engagement of students in the environment; latest innovation in educational planning and vision; energy and day lighting; and the building as a learning tool.
The overall design is based on a school within a school with the house concept. The classrooms are grouped together in “houses” which consist of a central room with classrooms surrounding it. All houses are equipped with a toilet room. Classrooms have easy sight to the central room; making it easy for instructors to watch children. Each house has a unique theme of flight and color scheme promoting unity among the students. House mascots are butterflies, hawks, aviators and explorers.
The kindergarten house is separate from the main student population. The main gathering area is an outdoor courtyard containing our solar system with sun and planets. Canopies designating entrances are abstractions of butterflies. Overhead canopies are curvilinear and reminiscent of butterfly flight paths.
Classroom and hallway walls are not parallel to reduce the reverberation time, thus improving the room and corridor acoustics. Improved acoustics makes it easier for a teacher to be heard and understood. Hallways leading to classrooms have art and graphic phrases that provide visual enhancement and learning tools.
Outdoor learning and play areas, protected by CMU walls, allow children a safe exterior environment to play in. Outdoor teaching and play areas contain large scale, interactive sundial, tee-pee structures, amphitheater, and building elements as instructional aides.
The building is meant to be a learning tool. View ports throughout allow children to see the internal workings of the building. A building mock-up in one courtyard illustrates building elements allowing children to see “how the building is made.”
Manch Elementary School is designed to LEED Gold criteria. The design team saved three existing buildings, refurbished them, and constructed new state of the art facilities enhancing the existing campus. New buildings were designed to take advantage of site orientation while providing a new sense of building entrance and security. The courtyards, internal squares, forms and shapes of the buildings are enhanced with vibrant colors, works of art and light reflective surfaces for energy efficiency.
Building orientation and configuration were used for design and fenestration decisions. Building structures were designed with high and low areas taking into account airflow directions for breezes to either allow air flow through courtyards or protect them.
The main building structure and thermal skin is constructed using structural insulated panels (SIPS). The use of this system provided a lightweight highly insulated system that uses less materials than conventionally built schools, requires less energy to maintain, emits less pollution and results in improved learning spaces. The SIPS wall system is so efficient that no building envelopment heat gain is included in the HVAC calculations. The cooling plant is 50% smaller than a typical elementary school.
Daylight harvesting was provided throughout the school with integral solar light tubes, low-E windows and clearstories throughout building. This provided a completely day lighted building. Photocells and occupancy sensors were used with standard lighting to phase in fluorescent lighting when daylighting levels dropped below 35-foot candles. Most school use is between dawn and dusk, thus conventional lighting is rarely needed.
Light colored materials were used on the roof and walls as heat reflective building surfaces and to reflect heat from the courtyards. Overhangs and canopies were used as reflective surfaces as well. The overhangs and canopies were used as shading elements for windows and outdoor spaces; they provided a secondary sound reflectance up for neighboring jets flyovers and for sound reflectance down in teaching courtyards for better hearing of students and teachers.
Displacement ventilation is used throughout the school with air being supplied low, just above the floor and being exhausted high in the ceiling or wall. This method of ventilation helps to keep from spreading germs by not blowing air down across occupants. This result is less sickness transmission, fewer absences, and energy savings.
By using energy efficient methods for design, construction and operation we reduced consumption of resources approximately 50% over a conventional school. Over 50% of building materials for the school came from plants using large percentages of recycled materials that were within 500 miles of the site, thus reducing the school's carbon footprint significantly.