Houston ISD, Bellfort Early Childhood Center

Renovation & Restoration, Schools


Houston, TX


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. A new exterior playground, resurfaced parking lot, screened porches, and entry canopy bring 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. 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. Nicola's talents and expertise are often utilized on projects throughout the firm, including higher education and community projects.

  • AIA Houston Design Award: Renovation/Restoration, 2012