East Brainerd Elementary
East Brainerd Elementary School is a 154,436-square-foot building designed for 1,100 students. The original 19-acre site had three prefabricated metal building structures that housed classrooms, administrative offices, and a gymnasium for a small private school which was purchased by the Hamilton County Department of Education to meet their growing needs. Since the existing building was not expandable, TWH Architects was selected to design a new, free-standing school that allowed the existing school to remain in use until the new facility opened. In addition, the new parking, play fields, and bus/parent drop-off/pickup had to be constructed without demolishing the existing structure. The new school was designed for energy efficiency and sustainability, in order to save operational and maintenance cost. Some of the sustainable features included geothermal heating and cooling, partial reflective roof, daylight and room occupancy sensors, and multiple clerestories for the two-story main entrance lobby and the cafeteria.
The rather linear-appearing building steps down the site from north to south, with classroom wings leading from a central spine. It provides a clear sight line from the front door to the bus drop-off and pickup area at the far end of the building. This helps provide visual security and real-time observation of movement through the heart of the school. This central spine of the school serves as a “main street” for student and teacher movement, with classroom communities and neighborhoods on the “side streets” or corridors. The one- and two-story building with a sloping standing-seam metal roof provides a low-profile residential feel, keeping it in context with the two adjoining neighborhoods on the east and west side. As you move toward the indoor play and music department, you pass through another intersection of classroom wings, where clerestories flood the interior courtyard leading into a day-lit cafeteria and community hall. Steps and ramps from this inner court lead you to the primary pickup and drop-off points near the indoor play and auditorium. The bus and parent entrance and exits on opposite sides of the lobby serve the gymnasium. The construction schedule was established at 596 days to meet the Owner’s occupancy date at the beginning of school year August 2015. Through cooperation during construction between Owner, Contractor, and Architect the project met the Owner’s requirement.