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Gulf Trace Elementary School
Pasco County, Florida
Pasco County School Board
Holmes Hepner & Associates Architects
This single story Prototypical LEED Elementary School for the Pasco County School system is based on the contunious process learning concept. Ten “Instructional Teaching Pods”, housed in four academic buildings, are centered around a linear courtyard linking these ”Pods” to two ancillary buildings which house food service, art, music, media, and administration. The exterior circulation elements are oriented towards the courtyards to provide optimum security and replace the traditional conditioned interior hallways. This open courtyard and orientation of the buildings allows for complete security and supervision with minimal fencing. Students can reach every student occupied space including the administration without exiting the courtyard. This high quality, low cost, efficient facility has become the new prototype in Pasco County. The facility is designed for 762 students and incorporates approximately 80,000 gross square feet including a multi-purpose auditorium, full food service facilities, media center and playfields.
In June 2008, Gulf Trace Elementary became the first LEED certified Silver K-12 school in the State of Florida. Sustainable measures planned for this prototype include recycling at least 78 percent of construction waste, installing low-flow fixtures and low-VOC materials, utilizing 50 percent less water for landscaping, maximizing open space, achieving a 23 percent energy savings, and obtaining nearly half of all building materials from within a 500 miles of the site. Additional costs for the LEED certification resulted in less than 1 percent of the total construction cost. The concrete tilt-wall construction, while helping to achieve a high recycled content in overall building material usage, also allows for an accelerated construction schedule of 10 months