Mary McLeod Bethune Elementary School is an 800-student, K-5 building. Its location within a residential neighborhood played a major role in the design. The building is decisively residential in scale and great care was taken to assure that the school maintained the integrity of the street edge. The site was originally a park, and the new layout allows the school playgrounds to continue functioning as community space. It was of paramount importance that the school building not only be an asset to the Rochester City School District, but a benefit to the surrounding neighborhood, as well.
In a progressive approach to educational space, the classrooms are laid out in “neighborhoods.” These neighborhoods consist of a number of classrooms clustered around a focal point, which is expressed on both the interior and exterior of the building. The focal point has the potential to function as an open room to be used by any of the classes in the neighborhood.
The design concentrates on the needs of the children. It suits the scale of its users, and the playful, clean, crisp atmosphere should ensure that it is not only an effective, sufficient facility, but a cheerful, positive place for young children to learn.
Winner of Rochester Chapter AIA Design Excellence Award
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