Design Award Entries

Northside Elementary - Administration Building Addition & Remodel

Originally constructed in the 1950s, Northside Elementary in Rogers, Arkansas, has undergone numerous additions and renovations over the years. Core Architects was brought on for two design phases: to bring a modern update to the entire campus and to create another addition for the administrative wing.

Project Statement

Over the years, Northside has undergone at least 7 additions as the needs of the school increased, bringing the total existing to almost 46,000 SF. This latest renovation to the school included introducing the latest security measures, updating technology, bringing everything up to code and accessibility standards, integrating a new HVAC system, and selecting new finishes throughout. Finishes included millwork, paint, ceilings, doors, windows, and flooring.
With so many additions over the years, one of Core’s design goals was to create cohesion by melding the existing and new. The team worked with the school district to form a custom blend of aggregate for epoxy flooring that was complimentary to the existing flooring. While many of the finish selections were pre-determined through district design standards, there were still opportunities for creative design. To provide acoustical treatment in the high-ceilinged cafeteria/multi-purpose space, the walls were adorned with acoustical tectum shapes arranged in intricate patterns and colors. This feature is unique to the school, making it stand apart from the other schools in the district.
The wings of classrooms were renovated with different accent colors to delineate the different grades and provide orientation for students; the colors used tie back to the tectum panels.
A special and crucial space, the library was also refreshed. The original design had a few lightwells in the ceiling. Lighter colors used in the new finishes took advantage of this, truly brightening up the space and creating a colorful environment for the students. Kinetex carpet tiles with accent colors were used as the flooring to again provide a fun, unique element to Northside.
It was important that the whole school address accessibility requirements under the Americans with Disabilities Act, ensuring that all students and staff can maneuver the entirety of the building.
One of the most significant challenges with this project was keeping the school completely operational while construction was underway. Some of the original parts of the building contained asbestos, and student safety was the top concern. There was a delicate balance between the renovation process and school functionality. As the refurbishment rotated around the different wings of the school, classroom trailers were brought onto the site. This proved to be a design challenge in and of itself, as catwalks had to be constructed between to address grade changes and keep everything ADA accessible. The school was never fully unoccupied and remained open throughout the entirety of the renovations.
The 4,200 SF addition of the administrative suite incorporated a new reception area, administrative offices, conference room, huddle rooms, and a nurse/medical suite. The entrance features a double-locked entryway that enhances school security. The existing administration area was converted into counseling and speech therapy rooms.
From the exterior, the school’s name and mascot are displayed prominently as a panther’s paw is cut into the design of the metal screen on the new entry. Another paw is stained into the concrete in the reception area.
A main objective of this phase was to increase school security. Part of this was to provide more than adequate lighting on the exterior of the school, specifically at the student drop-off/pick-up area. The building signage that wraps the corner of the building is backlit. The entire administrative suite is a glowing beacon with its glass storefront, shining light through the perforated metal screen.
The brick for the addition was selected after careful comparisons to existing brick conditions, again trying to create a sense of cohesion for the entire campus. Metal panels bring a flashy and modern flare to the entry piece.
Core was honored to be selected to work with Rogers School District administration to renovate Northside Elementary. The before and after differences make a true impact on the educational environment quality for the students. We wanted to provide them a space where they felt safe and excited to come to school every day.

AIA Arkansas