Van H. Gilbert Architect PC

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Ramirez Thomas Elementary and
Nye Early Childhood Center

Santa Fe Public Schools, New Mexico

Ramirez Thomas Elementary School reflects the input of the local community, the school administration and teachers. Built on a 11.5-acre site in Santa Fe, the 76,000 square foot facility consists of a school core containing the administration area, media center, gymnasium, cafeteria/multi purpose space, a courtyard amphitheater, activity plazas, and outdoor play areas designated by age groups. Anne Taylor, Ph.D. assisted with the education specifications and program for the school.

The K-5 classroom wing is a series of four-classroom pods organized around a large open space. Each pod is defined by its own color theme. Rooms have direct access to an enclosed courtyard and abundant student and teacher storage. Skylights and floor to ceiling windows flood each classroom with natural light. The child-scale, lively, kindergarten and early childhood areas are connected to the core school elements but have their own entrance and outdoor play areas.

Building materials were selected for their affordability, durability, ease of maintenance, and environmentally responsive characteristics. Operable windows promote natural ventilation. The Low E, insulated, performance glazing, window shading, and site orientation mitigate excessive solar gain. Ambient up lighting, T8, and smaller efficient fluorescent fixtures supplement the daylight. All plumbing fixtures are low-flow. Natural materials were used throughout the school for their sustainability and aesthetic appeal.

  • CEFPI School Tour Participant, 2008 CEFPI Southwest Regional Conference
  • Included in: “Linking Architecture and Education: Sustainable Design for Learning Environments,” Anne Taylor, PhD, UNM Press, 2009