The East Fairhaven Elementary School, Fairhaven, MA, was named one of the four model elementary schools by the Massachusetts School Board Authority (MSBA). Cited for its efficient floor plan, as well as its adaptable and flexible use of space, the 74,630-square-foot school serves 475 students in pre-K through fifth grade. The school has a straightforward plan that simplifies navigation for its young users, and bright colors and strong patterning reinforce the child-centric environment.
MSBA’s Model School Program showcases schools that are efficient in design, incorporate sustainable elements, demonstrate flexible educational programming approaches, and encourage community use. The program’s goal is to capitalize proven solutions and perpetuate design and construction best practices. According to the MSBA, adapting these proven school designs will compress the design/bid schedule, reduce construction changes orders, and limit the impact of cost inflation.
The school achieves efficiencies through a simple layout and creative multi-use of space. The gymnasium doubles as a school-wide performance/assembly space, where an acoustic partition can also isolate the stage for use as the music classroom during the day. The energy-efficient building is also oriented to take advantage of daylighting, with skylights and classroom windows bringing natural light deep into interior spaces.
Completed in 2007 at a construction cost of $12,986,014, materials were selected for their long life span, abuse resistance, and ability to minimize the building's overall environmental footprint. “Using quality materials and creative space planning, the project is a testament to the idea that good design doesn't have to come at a cost premium," says Laura Wernick, principal at HMFH Architects.