Rockenbaugh Elementary

Southlake, Texas

A school renovation creates resilience and shared spaces

The design for Rockenbaugh Elementary School modernizes an existing school building, while adding an adjacent new structure and connecting the campus with canopy-shaded walkways. The project added seven new classrooms as well as an expanded administrative area and more secure entry, which reorganized campus traffic circulation. The new addition doubles as a tornado shelter for students and faculty, and is able to withstand 250-mph winds.

The original building was constructed in 1997, and Carroll Independent School District wanted to create more spaces where students and faculty could gather and collaborate, as well as new pre-K classrooms, including restrooms. The district also needed to provide safe shelter during times of dangerously inclement weather (as required by building code).

The new additions mimic the original Rockenbaugh’s traditional style and brick cladding. Both structures are designed to be resilient; new additions included a special window film that prevents their glass from shattering when struck by wind-blown debris (eliminating the need for mechanically controlled shutters), as well as robust insulation, roofing and structural support.

The design moved the administrative wing, which had been located in the center of the original building, to near the front, while creating a secure-vestibule entry to enhance security with a new check-in process. Corridors and public areas were also expanded and refreshed, adjacent to the new collaborative spaces created by removing two classroom walls, allowing multiple grades and classes to come together.

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