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Del Norte Elementary School

Posted: September 10, 2019 | Projects

Del Norte Elementary School combines the campuses of Gallup- McKinley County School District’s Juan de Onate Elementary and Washington Elementary in a modern, energy-efficient facility. The new two-story, two-wing building, tucked into its neighborhood on an eight-acre site, houses pre-K-5 classrooms, a cafeteria, a gymnasium as well as administrative offices.

Photo Courtesy of Van H. Gilbert Architect, P.C.

VHGA worked in a collaborative process with the Gallup-McKinley County School District, the families of the two schools being consolidated into the new Del Norte Elementary, and Public School Facilities Authority to plan and design the new school.

“The opportunity to unify two separate elementary schools on one campus is of great benefit to the community,” said Ronald Triplehorn, Director of Facilities for the school district. “Beyond the savings in operating costs for one, modern, energy efficient building, specifically designed to meet the students educational and social needs, we believe the expanded interactions of the larger student population and their teachers will have a deeply positive impact.”

“Few architectural projects are as rewarding as working with a community to design a modern learning environment that supports the education, culture and well being of their children,” said Van H. Gilbert FAIA. “The best results come from working with thoughtful and forward-looking collaborators.” 

The new school, constructed on an eight-acre site, is sited to flood the school interiors with natural light and to mitigate the harsh winter elements by placing entry points on the south. Building mass provides protected outdoor multi-functional gathering spots. Age appropriate hard surface and turf play areas and equipment are easily accessed. 

Energy efficiency and technology infrastructure are key to the design. A simple layout provides designated parking and circulation pathways with a focus on student safety by channeling and separating buses, deliveries, staff, and visitor traffic. 

In the efficient plan, classrooms radiate from the centralized core, the gym and cafeteria occupy a separate wing, and wide hallways and gathering spaces support group activities.  The clean, contemporary architecture of the masonry and stucco building accented by metal panels and details, responds to its context and climate. 

Brightly colored walls throughout the spaces provide a lively backdrop for displays and create youth-friendly settings for learning and socializing from the classrooms to the library and gym.

Building Envelope: USG, Cemco, Parex, Firestone
Roofing: Firestone
Windows: Commercial Door Manufacturing
Entrances & Storefronts: Southwest Glass & Glazing
Flooring:  Daltile, Roppe, Mohawk, Armstrong
Interior: Sherwin Williams, Guilford of Maine, Rockfon
Lighting: Peerless, Pathway, USA Illumination, ABL, Prudential, Acuity
Daylighting/Skylights: Major Industries
Elevators: ThyssenKrupp

Van H. Gilbert Architect P.C.
2428 Baylor Drive, S.E.
Albuquerque, NM 87106

Structural Engineer 
Chavez-Grieves Consulting Engineers
4700 Lincoln Road, N.E., #102
Albuquerque, NM 87109

Mechanical & Electrical Engineer
Bridgers & Paxton Consulting Engineers
4600C Montgomery Boulevard, N.E.
Albuquerque, NM 87109

Civil Engineer
Isaacson & Arfman, P.A.
128 Monroe Street, S.E.
Albuquerque, NM 87108

General Contractor
Murphy Builders
808 S. Boardman Avenue
Gallup, NM 87301

Cost Estimator
CRM Cost Consulting, Inc.
6120 87th Street
Lubbock, TX 79424

Food Service Consultant
RDA Design Group
9445 Coors Boulevard, N.E.
Albuquerque, NM 87114

Date Bid: May 2015
Construction Period: Sep 2015 to Jan 2017          
Total Square Feet: 61,836
Site: 8 acres.
Number of Buildings: One; 37 classrooms, seating 1,234; gymnasium.

Building Sizes: First floor, 40,383; second floor, 21,453; total, 61,836 square feet.  
Building Height: First floor, 14’8”; second floor, 14’8”; total, 44’.  
Basic Construction Type: New/II B.
Foundation: Cast-in-place, pier & grade beam, reinforced concrete, slab-on-grade. 
Exterior Walls: CMU, aluminum storefront.
Roof: Built-up, metal. 
Floors: Composite steel deck.
Interior Walls: CMU, metal stud drywall.