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Flexibility Key to School Design

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Without knowing where the schools/community centers would be built, KKE Architects developed a flexible design that could fit various sites. This allowed the New Prague Independent School District to begin the building design process while locating sites


The New Prague Independent School District asked KKE Architects to design a combination elementary school/community center without the benefit of using the project’s site as a reference. KKE created a flexible design that could be flipped north to south or east to west, as needed.

Growing enrollment is an issue facing many school districts throughout the nation. In Minnesota, the New Prague Independent School District knew that new schools were necessary, but sites had yet to be found. To avoid delaying construction for the needed school/community centers, the school district decided to ask KKE Architects, Minneapolis, to create a flexible design that could be adapted to the sites once they were secured. The school district encompasses the growing Minnesota cities of New Prague, New Market, and Lonsdale.

Because these schools would need to serve both as elementary education buildings for its 700 students and as community buildings, KKE’s Education Team worked closely with the school district and a citizens’ group to formulate the project. Because school sites had not yet been identified, KKE proposed that the schools have an identical design-a small footprint and a floor plan that could be flipped north to south or east to west, depending on the accessibility of the sites.

With these parameters in mind, KKE designed Raven Stream Elementary School for New Prague and Eagle View Elementary School for New Market. Each school is two stories high and approximately 90,000-sq.-ft., with New Market’s having a small addition for an early childhood- family education wing. Amcon Construction, Eagan, MN, is managing the combined projects’ $36-million construction.

Groundbreaking for Raven Stream Elementary School took place in July 2005. With site development work finished in early Fall, the school’s athletic fields were sodded, ensuring playability by the anticipated opening in September 2006. Eagle View Elementary School broke ground in October 2005 and completion is also expected by this Autumn.

“This is truly a significant step toward dealing with our crowding issues,” said Dr. Frankie Poplau, New Prague Area Schools Superintendent. “It’s a testament to the residents of the District, who stepped forward to say they want to be an education community.”

“From our first open forums, the community’s input and the New Prague District’s vision have truly shaped the design and construction of these new facilities. The collaborative process has been a rewarding experience for our whole department. We expect the resulting success will serve the District well into its future,” said Lee Meyer, AIA, with KKE’s Education Team.