Archie Duran Elementary
This school is one of the first 21st Century schools built by EPISD. Creating an indoor and outdoor learning environment for elementary school students, where they will not only learn indoors, but also outside. Separate zones were created to provide separation of uses while still allowing students to play together or gather for school-wide events.
To maximize the use of the outdoor spaces, two play areas, sand play, a trike track, paint easels, four gathering spaces, quiet spaces, reading areas, site furnishings, custom shade canopies, and a large open field are incorporated into two outdoor classrooms and a large open outdoor area.
Water harvesting green swales were incorporated throughout, and Sites Southwest designers implemented the use of the large grass field for water harvesting to maximize the use of Stormwater. Low water plants were used to create an attractive landscape with year-round color. With a well-chosen plant palette and strategic placement of sod and inorganic ground materials, this low-maintenance landscape complements the architecture of this new 21st century school.
EPISD Outdoor Classrooms
Sites Southwest had a fun design opportunity to create whimsical outdoor spaces for special needs students by incorporating usable outdoor classrooms into 6 existing sites at El Paso ISD elementary schools in El Paso, TX. All of the sites required site selection, conceptual design, construction documents, and construction oversight.
Meetings with administration and students informed the design concepts for each environment. Easels, musical instruments, a tricycle path, a sand play area, vegetable and herb gardens, a small amphitheater with a stage, multi-sensory plants, and a small village all help to stimulate the children's imaginations. The outdoor educational environment for these exceptional students is completed by an adaptive swing and landscape improvements. The designs of Sites Southwest have produced long-term results, and the children adore the outdoor spaces created with their wants and needs in mind.
Sandia Labs MESA Campus
MESA, an ambitious science application campus in Albuquerque, New Mexico, was built by Sandia National Laboratories and the Department of Energy. This $130 million project aimed to attract the best minds in the country as well as visiting international dignitaries. MESA is a campus with three new buildings and four existing buildings designed to stimulate scientific thinking.
Sites Southwest designed the campus streetscapes, parking areas with an entry promenade, a 150-foot security buffer/open space, and an internal campus. A central campus with walkways, seating areas, an amphitheater, and shade structures is one of the landscape concepts. The environmentally friendly design incorporates recycled water, rainwater harvesting, and native and endemic plants.
Montwood High School Campus
The addition of a Fine Arts wing and a new entrance to this YISD high school campus created an enclosed courtyard as well as new opportunities for plazas, which provide functional exterior areas with new custom seating and space for outdoor learning, passive and active outdoor events or productions, and activities such as permanent Table Tennis courts for students to congregate and destress. Sites Southwest, as the team's Landscape Architect, was tasked with designing the courtyard to maximize pedestrian movement while providing sufficient landscape and turf areas with swales to facilitate water infiltration. This high-end landscape design was carefully coordinated with the civil engineer to ensure maximum drainage. Due to the possibility of evening events, Sites Southwest designed decorative landscape lighting. The evaluation of existing trees, site furnishings, and irrigation system allowed for their reuse, as well as the incorporation of new state-of-the-art irrigation equipment, ensuring that the new low-water plants thrive in the school's new entrance and active courtyard.
The Sandia High School Science Academy and Library exemplifies a learning concept that APS has been incorporating into their school designs and rehabilitation. This project included a sports field, a landscaped mall connecting the new buildings to the rest of the campus and a very large wetland, which is the focal point of the Science Academy.
The sports field design includes a baseball diamond, an outdoor gathering area and connective walkways. The center of the new campus includes walkways, seating areas, student gathering points and a landscape that ties into the wetland. The wetland and surrounding landscape functions as a learning laboratory. The landscape includes elements from the Sandia Mountain foothills and the Rio Grande Valley. The landscape incorporates outdoor biological classrooms, reused dimension cut concrete and a cistern to feed the wetland. The wetland has three distinct environments including aquatic plants from various landscapes. Learning greenhouses and vegetable gardens complete the learning facility. Sites Southwest worked closely with the school’s biology teacher on this project.
Tierra Antigua Elementary
Tierra Antigua Elementary School is located on Albuquerque's west mesa. One of the school's goals was to incorporate nature, learning, fitness, and play into the landscape.
The playground design combined fundamental types of play activities (climbing, balancing, spinning) with basic learning objectives (imagination, interaction). Preschool through fifth grade are served by the school. Designers took into account the developmental differences and skill levels of all age groups. In the "music garden," there are rock climbers, a fitness course, and percussion instruments.
The landscape includes an archaeological dig site, wildlife habitat, and an outdoor classroom with interpretive gardens showcasing Native American plants used for food, fiber, and medicine.
UTEP Engineering Building
Sites Southwest was chosen to work with the architect on the design of the outdoor plaza for the UTEP Engineering Building addition. Sites Southwest designed decorative yet functional steps and integrated dual-purpose planters that can be used for amphitheater seating for small outdoor events in this sunken plaza. This lovely space includes custom-designed gabion benches and trash cans, turf grass, flowering trees, low-water, colorful plants, and patterned and pigmented concrete. These features enhance the pedestrian connection between buildings and the plaza and serve as a focal point for outdoor learning opportunities.
V Sue Cleveland High School
Sites Southwest was a member of the design team for a new high school in Rio Rancho, New Mexico that serves 2500 students, faculty, and staff. The overall goal was to make the school a LEED Silver certified building that used green techniques.
The existing undeveloped site provided numerous sustainable opportunities. The team devised strategies for collecting and distributing roof runoff throughout the native landscape, storing surface runoff in vegetated swales in parking lot medians, and utilizing renewable, recyclable materials.
It was also planned to incorporate educational material on green concepts into the classroom. Trees, shade structures, dugouts, and bermed seating are all part of the athletic fields.