By CLINT FOSTER
The Mineral Wells ISD Board of Trustees got an exclusive first look at the design plans for the new Lamar Elementary School in a special meeting with VLK Architects, Wednesday night, at the District Services Complex.
Sloan Harris, a principal at the architectural firm, presented an exterior schematic design to the School Board with a fully-rendered digital model that included a “fly-through animation.” Harris said the designs were well-received.
“It went well,” he said. “The board approved it to continue to go forward. There were a few discussions regarding materials to use on the exterior. Those will continue to be developed as we move forward with the project. “
Superintendent Dr. Gail Haterius said the materials to be used on the exterior are just one aspect of the schematic design the board has yet to finalize. The board is considering outside finishes, including colors of brick, stone and possible metal finishes. Haterius added methods of heating and cooling were also discussed and will be explored further as well as playgrounds, sizes of rooms, outdoor learning spaces, parent drop-offs, teacher parking lots and the bus drop-off.
Because the board asked for some minor changes in design and are still making some decisions, Haterius said there are no pictures available for publication at this time.
However, concept art for the schematic design of Lamar should be available on Feb. 11, when the board will make an official decision to either accept or deny the plans at their next meeting.
“(The School Board is) spending their time to make sure that the school serves students and faculty well and also is a great addition to the neighborhood,” she said.
Harris said one unique aspect of Lamar’s new design is the presence of what he called “collaboration areas both inside the school for project-based learning as well as outdoor collaboration areas for outdoor learning activities.”
The rebuilding of Lamar Elementary comes as a primary feature in a $25 million bond passed by Mineral Wells’ voters last November. The new building will replace the old one in the exact same spot, where it was built in 1955.
VLK Architects have played a role in this project for some time, as Harris said they did a long-range facility plan for the school district last year.
This forecast and prioritization of the district’s needs – in partnership with a planning committee made up of community leaders – led the school board to include the new elementary school as a headliner in the bond.