Tellepsen Promotes Student Learning with Innovative Elementary School Project
Humble ISD - Atascocita Springs Elementary
Fulfilling a recommendation from a "Go Green Task Force" adopted by the Board of Trustees in 2008, Humble ISD built an elementary school that serves as a teaching tool by incorporating green technologies and demonstrating to children how they can contribute to sustaining the environment. The district's vision was also influenced by a desire to improve math and science skills among elementary students. This high performance, interactive learning environment is the first of its kind in the district-and in Texas-and will serve as a prototype for other districts.
Working with the school district and PBK Architects from preconstruction through completion, Tellepsen assisted in the design and building of Atascocita Springs Elementary, a sustainable facility that meets the criteria of both LEED Certified and TX-CHPS Verified (a first for Texas).
Atascocita Springs Elementary is a reflection of the wooded surrounding residential community. Sustainable features include natural building materials such as limestone and wood paneling; abundant natural light from storefront and curtain wall windows in learning spaces and public areas; energy conservation through natural lighting, occupancy sensors, low-flow toilets, native landscaping, and DDC lighting and temperature controls.
The energy-based heritage of the City of Humble and the surrounding community are highlighted at Atascocita Springs Elementary. The asymmetric design of the building and the fixture selections carry forward a theme of "energy" that incorporates elements of an environmentally focused curriculum into every aspect of the architecture.
To enhance the district's math and science curriculum, the school is designed to be a learning tool in itself, incorporating a hands-on experience for faculty and students. Four interactive building information kiosks are positioned around the facility and are connected to the building's operations systems to provide "real-time" data on energy usage and "mini-lessons" on how the building functions, how energy is conserved and the positive effects on the environment. Data collected from the kiosks is used in math and science lessons designed to help students understand how subjects taught in the classroom relate to the world around them. In all, 70 teaching points are incorporated into the building, while outside a cistern in the learning garden collects rainwater for irrigation and teaching purposes and a solar panel demonstrates the potential of solar energy. Informational signage throughout the building highlights sustainable features.
Math and science concepts are embedded throughout the building including: ecosystem wall and ceiling panels that define grade level areas within the building; number lines incorporated into the carpeting; "hundreds charts" featured in the outdoor learning spaces; interactive "math walls" in flexible learning spaces and a dramatic solar system that is a focal point of the library space.
"Tellepsen delivered a project of distinction for Humble ISD with the construction of Atascocita Springs Elementary School. They symbolically captured the spirit of the Eagle Spring Community and constructed an architectural reflection of the natural beauty of the surrounding area. Tellepsen's attention to quality planning and construction as well as the team's dedication as a true ‘partner' of the District made ASE an exceptional project!"
Martha Buckner, Assistant Superintendent for Support Services, Humble ISD
Although the collaboration among Tellepsen, Humble ISD and the architects made the project run as smoothly as possible, there were several obstacles the construction team had to navigate in order to complete the project on time. The weather proved to be the biggest challenge, with 44 documented rain days and two snow days within the year of construction. With the rain came further challenges because the exposed layout of the building made for prolonged periods of damp and muddy conditions. Due to the remote location of the building, temporary electrical power didn't arrive at the site until five months after construction commenced, and permanent power wasn't obtained until seven months before the completion date. This left only five months to complete interior finishes.
Strict easements and adhering to LEED and TX-CHPS standards presented a new set of challenges. For instance, according to CHPS requirements, no paper or wood products are allowed within four inches of concrete. Tellepsen worked with CHPS to develop a cost-effective way to install millwork without violating the requirement. The result was a new style of cabinet base that will likely be used in future projects.
Despite these challenges, Tellepsen and the other parties had the ingenuity, creativity and drive to complete Atascocita Springs Elementary on time and within budget, with no lost time accidents or OSHA recordable incidents.
Tellepsen is proud and honored to have been a part of such an innovative and important educational facility, which will be used as a prototype for future schools within Humble ISD and throughout Texas.
Contact us about your next ISD construction or renovation project.
- New construction of two-story, 113,895 square-foot facility
- Limestone and wood building materials
- Storefront and curtain wall windows in learning spaces and public areas
- Plumbing system that includes low-flow toilets and faucets
- Point-of-use water heaters in all areas (opposed to one large capacity heater)
- Low voltage fire alarm, PA, local sound reinforcement, structured cabling, intrusion detection, IP surveillance camera, classroom voice enhancement and access control infrastructure systems
- Solar panels in library to power computers
- Landscaping consisting of native and drought-resistant plants to conserve water