New Idlehurst Elementary School, Designed by Harriman, Ready for Students

Aug 13, 2011.

Construction is complete on the new 580-student Idlehurst Elementary School in Somersworth, New Hampshire, and is set to open as scheduled. The $19.9 million school was designed by architecture and engineering firm, Harriman.

The new 82,000-sq.-ft., single-story, Pre-K through 5 school, will open as planned for the first day of school on August 30th. Each of the 24 classrooms incorporates state-of-the art technology including interactive smartboards, a white board and teacher laptop computers. Each classroom is color-coordinated by classroom wings, with the color of the chairs, floor tiles and wall trim representing the grade of the students who use the room. All classrooms offer an abundance of natural light, creating a warm and inviting learning environment. The new school also features a media center with an adjoining computer lab, full-size gymnasium, music and art rooms and a cafetorium with a stage.

Some of the many energy-saving measures include building orientation to maximize solar heat gain and daylighting; sunshades on the south-facing side controllng direct sunlight into the spaces, thus reducing cooling costs; radiant floor heating in approximately 100% of the classrooms; daylighting control through the use of internal light shelves, external sun shades and automatic controllability of light fixtures; and on-demand ventilation providing ventilation to occupied spaces only. The school was designed to meet the Northeast CHPS program offered by the New Hampshire Department of Education for an additional 3% state building aid. According to Ed Murdough of the New Hampshire Department of Education, the school is the “greenest” in the state. The school district was presented with a check for $75,000 from Public Service of New Hampshire for going above and beyond standard cost-saving and sustainable design features.

The school was designed to also serve as a community resource and can easily be sectioned off for community use, including the gymnasium, cafetorium, library and a dedicated community room for local organizations. In the event of a disaster, the new facility can be used as a community shelter including a command room for the Fire Department.

Bonnette, Page and Stone of Laconia, New Hampshire was the construction manager.