Cottonwood Elementary School
This new elementary school was designed to create a flexible and collaborative learning environment for grades 1-5. Classrooms are grouped into five small wings, each with a breakout area and resource room, that are identified through thematic wayfinding based on Carlsbad's natural environment. This allows each wing to be used for different grade levels over time to adjust to peaks in grade level enrollment.
The heart of the school is an open Media Center, grouped with two Innovation labs for teaching STEM and Art, a music room, and an adjacent Gym and Cafeteria that can be opened into a single large space.
A rich outdoor learning environment includes three learning courtyards focusing on music, reading, and gardening activities, as well as a playground and playfield.
The site separates staff, bus, and delivery traffic and provides a long queuing area to enable student drop-off/pick-up without impacting traffic on the adjacent state road.
The modern exterior combines metal panels, fiber cement panels, and CMU for a warm, modern, and durable appearance.