Midland, Texas - The modern new building for Midland's Ralph Bunche Elementary School was chosen at the 2016 TASA/TASB Convention in Houston to receive three design awards. Local architectural firm Pate Architects joint-ventured with WRA Architects to design the new building for Midland Independent School District. Lee Lewis Construction was the construction manager. The TASA/TASB Convention is the premier annual conference for Texas school board members and administrators.
Midland architect, Walter Pate, AIA, Pate Architects’ Principal, said, "We are very pleased for Bunche Elementary to receive the 2016 Design Award. In addition, it was awarded the Planning Award and the Community Award."
Keith Anderson, AIA, WRA's Principal, elaborated, "The Planning and Community Awards recognized valuable input from the District and the Midland community, which included several Bunche alumni who served on the design committee. It was wonderful to design a building for a client so passionate about their school and students."
The new structure replaces the original Bunche school which had been demolished earlier, but MISD’s sustained growth required reusing this site. The new two-story school serves grades PreK-6 and accommodates many 21st Century learning methods including collaborative teaching areas, special-purpose and multi-function spaces, and shared community-use spaces. The 92,000 square foot building can house up to 800 students at full capacity.
Each grade level has its own large collaboration space adjacent to its regular classrooms. Glass walls separating the classrooms from community spaces enable teachers and staff to monitor multiple areas simultaneously. Library books are dispersed throughout the collaboration areas in shelves on casters, and most of the stack space in the library is on casters for flexibility. The building is designed for significant energy savings by its optimum solar orientation, natural light throughout, automatic lighting, and computer monitored heating-air conditioning system.
James Riggen, AIA, Midland ISD's Chief Operations Officer, commented, "The Pate/WRA architectural team listened carefully to both the District and the community. The planning and design process was extensive, and the architects were diligent to incorporate MISD's new 21st Century educational strategies into this building. We are eager to have Pate/WRA design more schools in Midland."