Trees Please

By Brantley Hightower, AIA

The town of Pleasanton sits on the northern edge of the Eagle Ford Shale Play. As in other small south Texas towns touched by the fracking boom, the last 10 years have seen the cityscape transformed by a rash of hastily built man camps and pre-engineered metal buildings offering “equipment rentals” and “fluid solutions.”

The new Pleasanton Elementary School, however, represents a more thoughtful addition to the built landscape. The facility for second- through fifth-graders represents a sound investment that will continue to serve the Pleasanton community now that the fracking boom that helped create it has ended.

In 2015, voters approved a $63 million bond package to fund the construction of a new elementary school. The San Antonio office of LPA began by engaging with the Pleasanton community. A committee of school staff, administrators, local parents, community leaders, and business owners help identify issues while acting as a sounding board for potential architectural solutions.

“The windows become extensions of the teaching spaces, kind of like little front porches,” says Jim Oppelt, AIA, of LPA. “Each teacher decorates the perimeter of the window opening and adds cushions or pillows, all of which tie back to the personalization in the teaching space.”

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