When Dearborn, Mich., voters passed a $150 million bond issue in 2002, one of the first things on the agenda was to build a new elementary school for the Salina neighborhood, which is situated in an urban area that is experiencing significant growth. The existing elementary school could not accommodate the influx of students.
The community and architectural team decided the new school could be situated next to the existing school, which permitted adjacent land owned by the school district to be consolidated so a K-8 campus could be created. The campus would eliminate the need for busing children across town for middle school because the existing school could be converted to a middle school that housed grades 4 to 8.
A two-story design approach was used for the new 73,654-square-foot school to conserve green space and outdoor play areas on the small site. This technique enabled the designers to incorporate safe student dropoff areas and add additional parking spots to the site.
Because the school forms a major border between the neighborhood and railroad-staging yard, it was important to keep the exterior design from looking industrial. A buffer screen system was built to protect children from potential stray traffic and help reduce noise from the railroad-staging yard. Bushes, shrubs and trees were planted in line with an ornamental fence to screen unwanted views.
The architect for this project is TMP Architecture (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.).