James Monroe Elementary School

Project Overview

In 2014, when the former school was destroyed in a fire, LAN was selected out of a highly competitive field as the architect and engineer to rebuild the James Monroe Elementary School in Edison, NJ. The new two-story, 67,000 sf school was completed in two years from start to occupancy, with doors opening to students in September 2016.

The school provides specialized instructional spaces and components of holistic design to increase student performance. The design focuses on color theory and providing energetic learning environments to students. Colored instructional accent walls and breakout spaces in corridors are provided for each grade level to aid in wayfinding between the two floors. 

The new educational facility is designed to provide modern classrooms that take full advantage of daylighting for both energy efficiency and the positive impact natural light has on student outlook.  Large windows let in sunlight, while LED light fixtures harvest daylight, and motion sensors strategically reduce the need for artificial light. These are just a few examples of the school’s integration with the latest green technologies and development techniques. The facility was designed for LEED certification, earning 26 LEED points.

When not in use by students, the cafeteria and gymnasium serve as a community wing for after-school programs as well as an emergency relief center for surrounding neighborhoods. The 4,685 sf kitchen is equipped with restaurant quality appliances and was designed to prep and transfer food to various schools throughout the district. The 5,300 sf gymnasium includes basketball courts and rock climbing walls for physical education classes, as well as a performance stage for band and choirs. 

The school’s media center was designed as a flexible learning space. The room includes a large collection of books, various reading areas, seating for group instruction or projects, and a computer lab. Highlighted by an orange paneled enclosure, the bookshelves received their own niche while students can flow in and out through the stacks. The media center was designed to have various seating types to allow students to read privately, listen to story time, or gather in small groups. 

LAN provided services to support the Board of Education’s insurance claim which resulted in their claim covering a full-size gymnasium, larger cafeteria, full-service kitchen, nurse’s office, and other features that were not present in the original building. Because of our litigation support, the Board of Education was able to increase the insurance company payout by over $10M.  

In the Fall of 2017, the project gained national recognition when it garnered the Outstanding Project Award by Learning by Design Magazine, which featured the project in their publication.


Edison Township Public Schools


Edison, New Jersey

Project Size

67,000 sf

Completion Date

September 2016


K-12 Education


Architecture, Civil Engineering, Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing, Construction Admin

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