McWhorter Elementary School

Dallas, Texas

Extensive research with educators helped develop innovative learning environments and a model for the district’s future upgrades

The modernization of McWhorter Elementary School makes a big impact on a limited budget, creating a variety of customizable learning environments and collaboration areas on an existing campus. The forward-thinking design is serving as a model for renovations for all the elementary schools in Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD.

The design approach to create student and community facing spaces came from the district’s initiative to create ‘High Expectations for All,’ and concentrate the dollars where the most impact could be achieved. Upgrades focused on the cafeteria, library, media lab and hallways, which would offer the best opportunities for reshaping the school’s learning environments.

With zones for “me space,” “team space,” “peer space” and “we space,” the remodel fosters different forms of collaboration while catering to each student’s individual learning choice. An underutilized computer space and library was transformed into an innovation lab with double-sided displays, adaptable shelving, movable lab tables, interactive TV screens and writable wall surfaces to support collaboration. Flexible furniture and technology create learning zones for students while giving them easy access to resources and inspiration.

In the main hallways, branded, multilingual graphics; updated finishes; and carefully selected lighting improve wayfinding and support the diverse student body. A large “learning tree” feature engages students and parents and acts as a focal point for the campus. The cafeteria, an area that most often hosts community and parent events, was refreshed with dimmable lighting, new paint, improved acoustics and shades to provide a more welcoming atmosphere.

In addition to the visible improvements, security features such as key room access, cameras, designated security plans and improved circulation for drop-off and pick-up areas were included in the renovation. To create a healthier and more sustainable environment, the renovation incorporated an upgraded HVAC system that improves indoor air quality throughout the campus.

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