Dr. Weeks Elementary School is an existing two story school built in 1976 in Syracuse, NY. RSA Architects renovated the school which was an open plan classroom layout to be a more modern and energy efficient building. The facility will house 816 students with a total of 33 individual classrooms ranging from pre-k to fifth grade, a new school based community health center, a state of the art media center, and a large group instruction room.
Although the interior of the school was almost completely re-designed, the existing exterior material was restored and the buildings overall design character was maintained. The existing brick was repointed and stained and windows were replaced along with the addition of new windows and curtain walls giving the building some color and a new building feel.
RSA Architects wanted to make the interior of the school come alive with colors and shapes making an environment that is exciting and stimulating. The classroom wings are broken up according to grade giving each grade its own hallway. To help the students navigate through the school easier each grade was given its own color which was coordinated throughout the hallway and classrooms with colored wall and floor tile, accent walls, and furniture. The hallways connecting the community spaces such as cafeteria, administration and gymnasium incorporated all the colors to unite all the grades and spaces.
Dr. Weeks Elementary was designed for LEED silver certification which will make it one of the first certified schools in the city. Some features to help obtain the silver rating include daylight harvesting controls in the perimeter classrooms, the use of low- flow plumbing fixtures, occupancy sensors, and materials that are of high recycled content and produced in the region. For exterior lighting luminaires that are dark sky compliant were installed. They have cutoff LED luminaires that are controlled by photo-cell and time control switches.
To help the students understand sustainable design and energy conservation, an information display screen was installed in the cafeteria. This display tracks how much electricity, water, and gas is being used. It can be broken down to monitor specific and multiple areas at once which allows the students to see how much energy they are using. The display also has features that will explain what makes the building sustainable and how it works.
Fourth grade classroom
Cafeteria with information display screen