Larry G. Smith Elementary Front Exterior

Designing a safe haven for learning

Larry G. Smith Elementary School
Dallas Independent School District
Mesquite, TX

Dallas Independent School District wanted an elementary school that stimulated and encouraged exploration and investigative thinking among students and teachers. Dallas ISD recognized that students learn best in safe environments, among other children close to their age, and wanted to create a school utilizing these observations to help achieve the best possible educational facility.

Larry G. Smith Elementary School accommodates 809 students in pre-kindergarten through fifth grade. The 89,000 SF, two-story structure is located on 13 acres in the City of Mesquite. The building is organized into zones, going from public spaces to transitional to private academic cores specializing in grade level instruction. The age-sensitive environments are safe havens of learning, while the school design lends itself to opportunities for broader interaction of older youth.

Larry G. Smith Elementary features a “neighborhood” configuration, grouping students into wings to create grade level “houses.” The design builds in flexibility to shift classroom sizes as the population varies.


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