New Construction v2.2
Edy Ridge E.S. & Laurel Ridge M.S.
LEED Gold 2010
Like the majority of public school clients, Sherwood School District desired a facility that is energy-efficient, easy to maintain, and forward-thinking in terms of educational flexibility, adaptability, and thoughtful integration of technologies.
Sherwood School District, located in a suburban community outside of Portland, Oregon, was in need of two new schools to relieve overcrowding. A 29-acre site was chosen because of its proximity to a large and growing area of the community that was currently segregated from the rest of the District's schools by a major arterial. The two schools consist of a 600-student elementary school (kindergarten through grade five) and the first phase of a middle school for 500 students (grades six through eight). A future second phase will add capacity for another 400 students, expanding the middle school's total capacity to 900 and creating a campus totaling 1,500 elementary and middle school students.
A primary guiding principle was to use the available resources wisely. The challenge was to get the greatest benefit from having the two schools share one site, while providing separate and individually identifiable schools. Two distinct school environments for students, teachers, staff, parents, and visitors were created. Each school was planned to function educationally as a stand-alone facility with an intentional separate identity. They come together educationally through shared design goals and learning opportunities, and physically by sharing a single service core that provides common needs for both buildings. These conjoined needs include a community room, kitchen, boiler room, electrical room, building storage, and delivery/service court. By combining these common core needs for the two buildings, the school district not only saved an estimated $600,000 in initial construction costs, but also enjoys economies in operations.
The two-story elementary and middle school classroom wings are set apart from the main core building, creating exterior courtyards. This arrangement provides more perimeter wall area, allowing all classrooms access to daylight. The four courtyards are each identified by one of the base elements of wind, fire, earth, and water. Each courtyard was developed around a theme to help connect the students to varying educational opportunities, provide immediate access to exterior learning environments, and improve way-finding. Linking each school's classroom wing to the central service core, transparent media centers are the learning "heart" of each school. Their locations, nestled in the entry of each classroom wing, force students to engage with the media centers as part of their daily activities and travel within the schools.
To ground the schools in their surroundings, watershed maps integrated in cafeteria floors connect students to the local and regional environment. The elementary school floor illustrates local creeks in relation to their neighborhood while the middle school floor charts regional rivers in relation to the City of Sherwood and the greater community.
Daylighting for both energy efficiency and occupant comfort was an important design consideration. The classroom wings are oriented on an east/west axis to allow for the maximum, more controllable, north/south exposure to daylight. Clerestory windows provide daylight to the cafeterias, gymnasiums, media centers, hallways, and shared common areas. Classrooms have large windows for both view and daylighting. Aluminum shading devices, light shelves, and high ceilings were employed to help daylight penetrate deep into the south-facing classrooms while reducing glare and solar heat gain. Where classrooms are orientated to the east, glazing with a higher shading coefficient was used to help control glare. Classroom light fixtures automatically dim to conserve energy.
The 29-acre site in Sherwood, a bedroom community at the edge of Portland's Urban Growth Boundary, is adjacent to new residential neighborhoods. The growing neighborhood area was underserved by both existing schools and community parks. The new schools provide a hub and identity for the surrounding neighborhoods, as well as open areas for recreation. The buildings are strategically located to use two enhanced riparian areas to buffer the schools' activities, reducing neighborhood impact.