Van H. Gilbert Architect, P.C.
2428 Baylor Drive, S.E., Albuquerque, NM 87106
Crownpoint, New Mexico
Date Bid: June 2011 Construction Period: Aug 2011 to Apr
Total Square Feet: 48,592 Site: 12 acres.
Number of Buildings: One. Elementary school with 18 core
classrooms, 2 special classrooms.
Building Sizes: First floor, 48,592; total 48,592 square feet.
Building Height: First floor, 15’; total, 30’.
Basic Construction Type: New, Type II-B
Foundation: Pier & grade beam, reinforced concrete,
slab-on-grade. Exterior Walls: CMU, metal panel. Roof:
Floors: Concrete. Interior Walls: Metal stud drywall.
Crownpoint, New Mexico is 80 miles from Gallup, New Mexico Eastern
Navajo Agency, in a remote area of New Mexico
Structural Engineer: Chavez Grieves Consulting Engineers, Inc. -
4700 Lincoln Road, #102, N.E., Albuquerque, NM 87109
General Contractor: Murphy Builders, Inc. - 808 S. Boardman
Drive, Gallup, NM 87301
Mechanical Engineer & Electrical Engineer: Bridgers & Paxton
Consulting Engineers, Inc. - 4600C Montgomery Boulevard, Albuquerque, NM
Civil Engineer: Isaacson & Arfman PA - 128 Monroe Street, N.E.,
Albuquerque, NM 87108
Designed by Albuquerque-based, Van H. Gilbert Architects, the new
Crownpoint Elementary School replaces a beloved but outdated school on
the Eastern Navajo Agency in Crownpoint, New Mexico, with a light
filled, state-of-the-art, learning environment featuring technology-rich
classrooms where children can thrive. The design team collaborated
closely with representatives from the community and the Gallup-McKinley
County School District to create a facility that embodies Crownpoint
Elementary School's Mission Statement, "Creating a foundation for
lifelong learning to become successful citizens."
The pre-kindergarten through fifth grade school is designed as a series
of connected pods, which foster flexibility and collaborative learning.
Based on community input, the media center/library serves as the heart
and welcoming hearth of the school. It also serves as the gathering
point for students attending the daily language and cultural
instructions in a classroom adjacent to the center. All grade levels
easily access core facilities including the cafeteria, gymnasium, and
The gymnasium and cafeteria, designed for day-to-day school activities
and lessons, also functions as a community gathering place for meetings,
performances, athletic events, and as the new home for the renowned
Crownpoint Rug Auctions.
The new school was designed to meet both the evolving curriculum demands
of a dynamic Pre-K-5 school and to respond to the community's request
that the architecture and interiors reflect Navajo culture and
traditions. The architects fused traditional forms and design motifs
with the latest thinking about educational design to inform both
function and aesthetics.
The Hogan-shaped entrance is decorated with the names of the four
directions and the four sacred mountains and the hallways bear words
like kindness and respect painted in both English and Navajo reinforcing
traditional values and contemporary lessons. Tile work throughout the
hallways, cafeteria and gymnasium echoes design from Navajo rugs, which
speaks both to the traditional craft and to the fact the school will
continue to host the renowned rug auction.
Large windows offer views to the surrounding hills and keep the
classrooms day lit and bright. The well-planned rooms provide ample
storage for supplies, even on shelves behind sliding chalkboards.
Windowsill countertops offer additional space for student projects or
The exterior masonry walls of the building are constructed with
striations of rough split faced block and polished block reflecting the
rocky cliffs that surround the community. The intricately woven standing
seam metal hip roofs bring the building down to a friendly pedestrian
The school is one of the first to use an energy-efficient, displacement
ventilation system, which provides excellent air quality, is quiet, and
reduces energy consumption. Because the air does not need to travel down
from the ceiling to reach the students, less temperature change is
required, saving energy. Because the air is delivered low and exhausted
high, it moves germs and carbon dioxide up and away to improve air
quality and student health. The mechanical system is being reviewed by
the state's Public School Facilities Authority to be used as a model
HVAC system in State-funded schools.
In addition to the building's ventilation system, the use of more
efficient and natural lighting, and various components to cut down on
water usage will result in energy savings of 30 percent and water
reduction of 40 percent.
Technological features include: state-of-the-art audio-visual
presentation system, computers, wireless service, and data ports.
Advanced fiber optic Internet access provides critical connections to
web-based educational programs and supplemental materials to support the
Crownpoint's innovative design attracted the attention of state
legislators interested in sponsoring a bill for a study that would
measure and compare how students and staff are performing in their
healthier environment, with improved acoustics, natural light and indoor
Flooring: Daltile, Tandus Carpet
Window, Entrances & Storefonts: Tubelite
Lighting: Cooper Lighting