Edison, NJ – At the start of 2017, students in Edison Township returned “home” for their first day of school in the new James Monroe Elementary School (JMES). The original school was burned to the ground three years ago after a devastating fire. Local architecture and engineering firm, LAN Associates, worked diligently to fast track the return of students and staff to their school, while they have been temporarily attending class at the former Saint Cecelia’s Catholic School in Iselin.
The two-story, 21st century James Monroe Elementary School, approximately 67,000 sf, was designed using principles of a holistic design approach, where light, flexibility, choice, connection, complexity, and color are direct correlations to enhance student educational achievement. Studies have verified that a holistic design approach can advance a student’s academic progress up to 25% during the course of an academic year.
Daylighting is the most important design criteria to a school, as it directly impacts attendance, academic and performance productivity. “We began the building design by performing light studies on all orientations of the building,” says Vice President and Project Architect Kim Vierheilig of LAN Associates. “Maximizing natural light in every learning space was a priority and just as important was providing controls within classroom so educators could easily transform their learning environment, depending on the technology they use during instruction or break out activities.” Continue reading