Harrisonburg City Public Schools’ PreK-12 enrollment has climbed dramatically over the past several years. Between 2002 to 2013, school enrollment grew a whopping 32.76%, with an overall gain in city population of 21%.

Unanimously selected to analyze facility needs for HCPS, VMDO reviewed all school building capacities and assessed various factors driving growth in specific areas of the student population. Working with the Weldon Cooper Center at UVA, VMDO aligned strategic analysis of enrollment projections with facility needs and educational goals, building consensus and buy-in from stakeholders along the way.

VMDO’s analysis prioritized two main recommendations:

1) Grade Realignment: Moving the 5th grade back to the elementary level alleviates strain on middle school capacity and localizes the need for a new K-5 elementary school. Options for a new Early Learning Center, a new elementary, and a consolidated Early Learning Center & elementary were studied. Final sites for a separate elementary (for 700 students) and Early Learning Center (for 154 students) were selected and approved.

2) Redistricting: County borders will be redrawn to make road networks as convenient as possible to and from the new schools. Expansion at the middle and high school levels is also being planned, after construction for the elementary school and Early Learning Center are underway.

Harrisonburg City Public Schools’ PreK-12 enrollment has climbed dramatically over the past several years. Between 2002 to 2013, school enrollment grew a whopping 32.76%, with an overall gain in city population of 21%.

Unanimously selected to analyze facility needs for HCPS, VMDO reviewed all school building capacities and assessed various factors driving growth in specific areas of the student population. Working with the Weldon Cooper Center at UVA, VMDO aligned strategic analysis of enrollment projections with facility needs and educational goals, building consensus and buy-in from stakeholders along the way.

VMDO’s analysis prioritized two main recommendations:

1) Grade Realignment: Moving the 5th grade back to the elementary level alleviates strain on middle school capacity and localizes the need for a new K-5 elementary school. Options for a new Early Learning Center, a new elementary, and a consolidated Early Learning Center & elementary were studied. Final sites for a separate elementary (for 700 students) and Early Learning Center (for 154 students) were selected and approved.

2) Redistricting: County borders will be redrawn to make road networks as convenient as possible to and from the new schools. Expansion at the middle and high school levels is also being planned, after construction for the elementary school and Early Learning Center are underway.

The elementary school features 3 floors, including 42 classrooms subdivided into innovative “learning neighborhoods” which will encourage collaboration and novel curricular arrangements that support teaching and learning, while allowing for flexibility in how the building is used.

The elementary school features 3 floors, including 42 classrooms subdivided into innovative “learning neighborhoods” which will encourage collaboration and novel curricular arrangements that support teaching and learning, while allowing for flexibility in how the building is used.

The 10.8-acre elementary school site is a unique post-agricultural site with varied topography and sweeping views of the mountains which required careful coordination of landscape and other site features. The 3-story building design allows for more site area to be dedicated to student use, while the landscape design supports environmental and human health education by creating a communal, active and bio-diverse habitat.

Vehicular circulation strategies included development of a shared road with a neighboring golf course as well as a new traffic signal to help manage traffic flow and facilitate safe pedestrian access between the elementary school and the neighboring high school. The school site will serve as a key destination in the evolving network of city walking and biking trails.

The elementary school features 3 floors, including 42 classrooms subdivided into innovative “learning neighborhoods” which will encourage collaboration and novel curricular arrangements that support teaching and learning, while allowing for flexibility in how the building is used.

The 10.8-acre elementary school site is a unique post-agricultural site with varied topography and sweeping views of the mountains which required careful coordination of landscape and other site features. The 3-story building design allows for more site area to be dedicated to student use, while the landscape design supports environmental and human health education by creating a communal, active and bio-diverse habitat.

Vehicular circulation strategies included development of a shared road with a neighboring golf course as well as a new traffic signal to help manage traffic flow and facilitate safe pedestrian access between the elementary school and the neighboring high school. The school site will serve as a key destination in the evolving network of city walking and biking trails.

“You have beautiful designs and ... you’ve showed this from the beginning. Your intentionality and thoughtfulness and the research that you do around creating learning environments for our young people – I’ve been impressed with that from the beginning.”

– Brent Holsinger Harrisonburg City Public Schools, School Board Member

Client: Harrisonburg City Public Schools

Location: Harrisonburg, VA

Discipline: Primary & Elementary Schools

Completion: 2017

Size: 101,000 SF