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willard elementary school

The town of Concord, MA commissioned OMR to design the new Willard Elementary School as part of a town-wide replacement of three existing post-war elementary schools. Willard is designed to be a “Green” school as defined by the Massachusetts Collaborative for High Performance Schools (MA-CHPS) program of the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA). Careful site analysis allowed for the new building to be positioned in such a way that the existing school could remain in use during construction, solar potential is maximized with all K-5 classrooms facing south, and a subtle grade change is used to protect the building from cold winter winds while creating a sheltered greenscape on the classroom side.

Extensive energy modeling focused the Design Team on high performance windows, energy recovery in the mechanical system, and a tight, well-insulated building envelope. Daylighting analysis led to a building infused with natural light; direct or borrowed daylight reaching 90% of the spaces, benefiting students and teachers and reducing energy usage.

Extensive meetings with the users, the building committee, community, town officials and technical consultants led to an integrated design that provides needed spaces within a functional layout at cost within budget. The final design for the new Willard School successfully implements the OMR philosophy “All is One”, where small details and a large vision are unified.

learning elements program

Education is an inherent part of our philosophy and we typically collaborate with the teaching staff to integrate “learning opportunities” into the building design. The new Willard Elementary School building and its entire site are envisioned as a teaching tool. OMR worked with the school administration and teachers, as well as the community as a whole, to develop the sustainable design approach with appropriate ways to incorporate sustainability into the educational process. Indoor and outdoor plaques illustrating sustainable design features of MA-CHPS categories are strategically placed throughout as part of this program. Using these plaques as a base, curriculum is created by older students and recorded as Podcasts that teach occupants and visitors about these sustainable features. In addition a “Green Building Interactive Display” is located in the building, programmed to monitor and illustrate the performance of building systems in an age appropriate way. A sundial and analemma are also integrated into the design and curriculum for students.