Kansas City, Mo. – One Tulsa elementary school was recently chosen as one of the “best of the best” by the Associated Builders and Contractors of Oklahoma. The group honored Ellen Ochoa Elementary School (12000 E. 31st St.) in the Excellence in Construction Awards, presented Oct. 24 at Tulsa’s Osage Event Center. The annual awards recognize outstanding projects built by members of the organization as a way to raise awareness of high-quality work in the region.
Part of Union Public Schools, the elementary school was a new construction, designed by Hollis + Miller Architects. The completed school includes 133,000 square feet and cost $31 million. Charlie Bushyhead, associate superintendent of Union Public Schools, commented that he was extremely happy with the Hollis + Miller team, the process in general, and the final completed project.
“We couldn’t be more pleased,” he said. “Their programming was effective and their response, involvement, etc. is unmatched. It was nice to work with an architect who listened, responded and offered better solutions when warranted. We were extremely impressed with their team.”
Because the school is deeply embedded in the surrounding neighborhoods, with the majority of the population living within a one-mile radius, the firm worked to involve local residents by incorporating various spaces for community events. These include open gyms, adult education, and a community garden and kitchen, where parents and students can learn to grow and cook together.
“This school is really centered on focused learning and small-group work, and it’s unlike any other in the district,” said John Brown, partner at Hollis + Miller. “We’re proud to receive this honor from ABC Oklahoma, and excited to watch this new school grow with the surrounding neighborhood.”
Ellen Ochoa is the newest school in Union Public Schools, opening on August 22, 2017 with a second wing added in 2019. The school is named in honor of the first Hispanic female astronaut and the current director of the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston.
Ellen Ochoa was also recognized in the fall 2019 edition of LEARNING BY DESIGN with an Outstanding Award for excellence in educational facility design. The publication’s jury of six architects and end users honored the school for its architectural and interior design, and applauded Hollis + Miller for achieving high marks in the six measures the group considered: innovation, community need, interior design, sustainability, functional design and 21st-century learning.
About Hollis + Miller
Founded in 1950, Hollis + Miller is an integrated architecture firm that designs the future of learning environments, including public, private, K-12 and higher education. Learn more at hollisandmiller.com.