Greenback PK-12 School
Loudon County Schools
First Place TSBA School of the Year Award Winner – 2014 High School New Construction
Community Tectonics Architects facilitated a participatory planning process that engaged administrators, teachers, parents, community leaders, school board members, and county commissioners in the development of educational program requirements for a new Greenback PK-12 School. The Educational Specifications conveyed to the architect a strong preference for an “educational model” that would retain the community’s long history of three distinct grade levels (elementary, middle, and high school) in one facility. Greenback’s success at this unique grouping of “multi-age” students is attributed much to the community’s strong “sense of belonging” and the older student’s commitment to “mentoring”.
As principal, Mike Castel said, “when a high school senior can visit the same classroom(s) where he or she began their educational journey, history has shown the impact on younger students becomes a powerful motivation for learning”.
The design of the new Greenback PK-12 School organizes its three academic centers (Elementary: PK-5th; Middle: 6th-8th; High: 9th-12th) in a manner that could be characterized as “neighborhoods”. Each “neighborhood” is located within the building to create some degree of physical separation and autonomy without hindering the opportunities for students to engage in planned, social interaction as they leave their individual neighborhoods to participate in activities that are supported by such spaces as: administration, clinic, guidance, media center, computer lab, art, music, kitchen, dining, gymnasium, and little theater. The primary, internal circulation pattern within the building occurs along “Main Street” which is anchored by two key entry features: the “Rotunda” and “Commons / Dining Room”. Both spaces serve as a hub of student and visitor activities that physically and visually embrace a “sense of community” which has characterized this PK-12 school for so many years.