Working closely with a client focus group, the project team emphasized connecting children and nature and creating a curriculum centered on exploring and understanding the natural world. Through a series of engaging concept design meetings, we agreed to follow a “simply elegant” design guiding principle through the entire process. The 20,800 SF curved plan frames the private forest area while the building steps down with the existing grades to provide direct access to the playground from each classroom. A large Multi-purpose space connects to a south-facing roof terrace which leads to a STEM pavilion by way of a covered bridge. The project is LEED Gold certification under LEED NC 2009. Variation of grade elevations from front to back resulted in an unbalanced soil condition for the entire structure, creating a challenge working with steel, concrete, and engineered glulam wood members and interconnecting these elements. However, the Structura team was able use their resources and expertise to solve the issue using value engineering, keeping the project budget and schedule on track for the July 2017 opening.

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