In the heart of a densely populated urban area, the new Ross Street Elementary School provides a quiet and personal enclave for students. Adaptability is at the forefront of the forward thinking three-story 87,000 sf ground up project, and every design choice was made to support a 21st century learning environment that inspires creativity and fosters the wellbeing of students.
The project was funded by a first vote approved $57 million bond referendum which allocated funds to this project and another neighborhood school. To ensure students would not be displaced during construction, the project was completed in two phases.
Classrooms, collaborative spaces, and even the hallways of Ross Street were constructed to meet the evolving educational landscape. Flexible furniture and informal learning spaces help classrooms adapt to the curriculum, as do the various breakout spaces within the corridors. All design elements were carefully planned to ensure the school can meet the demands of a curriculum inspired by modern modalities and still conform to students’ individual needs.
The school is centered around a large atrium courtyard that provides essential daylighting for both energy efficiency and a connection to nature that rounds out a series of wellness motivated design elements. The courtyard houses a small amphitheater for outdoor lessons, several “living learning” gardens, and seating areas. This space not only serves Woodbridge students, it has become a venue of choice for Board of Education meetings, local celebrations, and town functions.
With full width glass windows lining the hallways, the courtyard provides students with a refreshing view between classes or in breakout areas. The school is equipped with many photovoltaics combined with daylighting strategies to reduce overall energy consumption.
Inside, the Creative Commons is 3,500 SF dedicated to cultivating innovation. Combining aspects of a traditional media center with a makerspace, it provides a large multi-use communal learning area highlighted by a maker wall that includes a vertical LEGO surface, floor to ceiling whiteboards, cubbies for building materials, and interactive display boards.
With a nearby creek and potential flood hazards, LAN’s Land Use Department and architectural team worked side by side to design a school that would utilize as much of the site as possible and avoid any potential wetland roadblocks.
For the community, Ross Street Elementary is a point of pride and for students it is a comfort zone and true home away from home. This project showcases LAN’s design excellence in a significantly sized and challenging project site.
Woodbridge Township Public Schools
Woodbridge, New Jersey
Summer 2019 (Phase 1) Spring 2021 (Phase 2)
Architecture, Civil Engineering, Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing, Environmental Services, Land Use, Surveying, Construction Admin