Although transforming a gymnasium into a cafeteria for lunch is a common practice in schools, it also poses a series of challenges. Irving Elementary School overcame those challenges through a new thoughtful design that better met its students’ needs.
Mark Fassbinder created a new flexible cafeteria space for the district’s largest elementary school. This freed the existing gymnasium to be used for physical education for the entire day and provided additional gymnasium space while the cafeteria is not in use.
The project also gave the school an opportunity to evaluate and meet other needs, including a new enlarged media center, an updated art classroom, additional learning environments and loading dock for daily deliveries.
The new space operates under a new closed-loop geothermal mechanical system designed to save the school in annual energy costs. IIW recommended not carrying this system through the rest of the building since the existing space had recently upgraded its heating system and the two systems could function well side-by-side.
* Work completed by Mark Fassbinder while at another firm.