After performing a feasibility study, SEI Architects designed a new two-story addition to the existing Takoma Park Elementary School. The new academic classrooms were clustered and located on two floor levels. The pre-kindergarten and kindergarten classrooms were placed on the lower level, which exits on-grade at the rear of the building. Classrooms on the second floor of the addition tied back to the main floor of the existing school. The existing building received minor renovations to the administration area, health room and media center.
Residing in a semi-urban environment, Takoma Park Elementary School is situated on an extremely tight site with substantial grade change. In order to maximize usage of the site and accomplish the site program requirements, SEI had to use the grade change to our advantage with large retaining walls, switchback bus loop and parking arrangement, and separation of parent drop-off/pick-up, bus loop, and pedestrian circulation paths.
As a community school with a substantial quantity of pedestrian traffic, we designed a public plaza at the main entrance where parents could drop-off and pick-up their children. Due to the steep grade change of the site, this plaza overlooks the azalea gardens to provide beautiful views of this natural feature. These scenic views further encourage walking instead of creating traffic in an already congested area.