Norman Borlaug Elementary School

Coralville, Iowa
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he design of Norman Borlaug Elementary School can be summed up in one word: personality. Growth in enrollment and changes in technology and modes of teaching prompted the District to re-envision the design of the school. Working on a tight budget, OPN was able to produce a state-of-the-art facility for the Iowa City Community School District that capitalized on the picturesque location and utilized space in an efficient manner. District members were involved in preliminary design phases, during which multiple floor plans were presented. The winning design aptly resembled the outline of a dragonfly.

The building is situated on a beautiful piece of land just within the Coralville city limits. The design incorporates expansive floor-to-ceiling windows in the library and commons space that unifies the interior and exterior, providing dramatic views and introducing natural light into the building. The District specifically wanted to create a building with a flexible design to accommodate community use; to achieve this goal, the gym and multi-purpose rooms were designed with entrances that would allow for separate community access. Space for before- and after-school programs and the Coralville Recreation Department was integrated into the design of the building.

New technology-enabled learning tools were considered and built into the classroom design. Smart Boards and high-speed wireless internet access are available throughout the building. OPN worked with the District to ensure that each room could be tailored to the needs of the particular demographic using the space. For example, in each classroom teachers have the ability to raise, lower or move all tack and marker boards to fit the size and usage needs of the students. This gives instructors the flexibility to configure the classroom to adapt to the learning styles or curricula being presented.

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