HKS (Education)

BISD Smithfield Elementary School

The Challenge: Replacement of the existing elementary school. The team designed a new 98,000 sqft. elementary school that would reflect the contextual history and rebuild a sense of community. A future forward, transformational learning environment will accommodate and support all learners based on current and future programs, partnerships, and pedagogical strategies of BISD.

Positioned as the anchor for the historic Smithfield Train District walkable community, this elementary school highlights social and emotional wellbeing, while creating a place that embodies an inclusive learning environment. The design tells a story of a deep and rich historical context while considering a holistic design approach for the future of learning. Local biophilia, natural materials, textures, and colors are uniquely considered throughout the interior experience. The dynamic spaces of discovery, sensory engagement and delight are reflective of the district’s imperatives of Community, Collaboration, Transformation, Sustainability and Safety. The ‘heart of the school,’ two-story Learning Commons, features ample natural lighting that encompasses the learning stair, maker space ‘cabin’ and reading hive. As a school with one of the largest Autism Programs, Smithfield prioritizes the sensory needs of its Special Education students as well as unique sensory considerations for all students. Using evidence-based design, HKS created a sensory well-being hub for Special Education students featuring an outdoor sensory path, and interior active, respite and playful zones that allow students to discover, play and restore within their individual comfort levels. Outdoor and indoor spaces are positioned in harmony to provide a healthy, safe, creative and responsible learning destination.