Van H. Gilbert Architect PC

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Mesa Middle School
Las Cruces School District, New Mexico

The design of Mesa Middle School fosters academic achievement in a sustainable environment. Flexible classroom configurations and grade appropriate science labs further instructional methods. The siting of the academic buildings creates a central courtyard appropriate for large or small group interaction. The academic buildings are connected to core campus facilities by a series of canopy covered walkways. Three building which house the school’s administration center, the gymnasium/cafeteria/media center, and an arts center form a courtyard anchored by a multi-use amphitheater. The parent and bus drop off and pick up area is centrally located to facilitate student security and faculty supervision. Pedestrian and vehicular circulation is separated. Play fields are located within the school’s secure perimeter.

Energy conservation is transformed into a course of study as students participate in Mesa Middle School’s energy monitoring system. The energy monitor displays three meters showing the school’s actual energy consumption for lights, for HVAC, and for all plugged in equipment. Students study the consumption monitors and help to develop ways to reduce energy consumption.

A “High Performance School,” Mesa Middle School features sustainable design elements including; geothermal heat pumps with individual building controls to heat and cool the buildings, solar heat panels for hot water, low flow plumbing, east-west building orientation to maximize natural daylight, a reflective roof system, high efficiency insulation, high performance glazing, window sunshades and light shelves.

Van H. Gilbert Architect PC worked in association with Fanning Howey Associates, Inc. of Ohio.


  • Recognized as Distinguished Participant in the 2010 ENERGY STAR Challenge Gallery by the Environmental Protection Agency for achieving 99/100 points.