Bellfort Early Childhood Center, Houston ISD

Renovation & Restoration, Schools

Location

Houston, TX

Size

44,000 sf

Project Features
  • Additional exterior windows
  • Color-coded hallways
  • New playground
Kirksey designed the AIA award- winning 44,000-sf renovation of an existing Houston ISD facility to serve 350 students as an early childhood care center. The challenge was to take what was originally constructed as a medical facility and make it a place that is safe and fun for small children. Additionally, the project budget was not funded with bond resources thus requiring a special effort between the design team and HISD to assess, prioritize, and execute the design for the smallest construction budget feasible. The school had extensive renovations to the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems.

Kirksey focused on designing spaces that significantly improved the learning environment. Exterior windows were added to improve the quality of light in classroom spaces. The labyrinth of hallways are now coded by color and ceiling shapes, indicating exactly where you are in the building. Wall graphics, textures, mirrors and activities occur along the hallways placed at child height acknowledging the chief occupants of the building. On the exterior a new playground, resurfaced parking lot, screened porches and entry canopy bring new life and a youthful spirit to this building.
Nicola Springer, AIA, LEED AP 713 426 7510
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Nicola is an expert in 21st century learning environments and educational design – from pre-K to collegiate. In her role as preK-12 team leader, she has created state-of-the-art public and private schools and developed PlayTheory, a process that engages stakeholders in a fun, collaborative way to gather quantitative and qualitative information that is used during the design phase. With 17 years at Kirksey, her talents and experience are utilized for many community projects as well.

  • AIA Houston Design Award: Renovation/Restoration, 2012