The original Spiritridge Elementary School was constructed in 1969. The low-slung, single-story building, with its low-sloped roofs and deep overhangs, nestle nicely into the heavily wooded site. As the surrounding neighborhood grew and matured around it, Spiritridge became intertwined with the personality of the local community. The challenge facing the replacement project was to create a building that served a contemporary curriculum and was 50% larger without losing the original school’s character—the “Spirit of Spiritridge.”
The tight site constraints (parking, playfields, child center, and school on a nine-acre site) meant creating a 64,000 SF building would require a two-story solution. The building is organized around a central entry lobby which houses administration and the library. The linear, two-story, classroom wing is broken down into smaller clusters of classrooms which are articulated as individual masses and joined together by smaller “connector” blocks that house the building services (toilet rooms, stairs, and storage).
Deep roof overhangs reflect the shadow lines of the original school building, helping the building appear to sit lower on the site. The exterior materials emulate the language of the surrounding housing. The color palette, both interior and exterior, reflects the greens and browns found in the native plants and trees that were retained on the site, accented with an occasional splash of red, yellow, or purple, which represents the colors of the vegetables in the community gardens that are maintained at the school.