Discovery Elementary School is leading elementary educational design with the integration of the Professional Learning Centers (PLC’s) for grades 1-5. The PLC’s allow students and teachers to modify their collaboration spaces to best suit their needs and teaching styles. The PLC’s were designed with maximum flexibility so that the student’s needs can be met as teaching styles and technologies evolve and advance from large group sessions to small group breakouts. Ultimately, resulting in a stimulating learning environment that adapts to and enhances the student’s learning experience. Another key aspect to the success of Discovery Elementary is the integration of day-lighting throughout all areas of the school as a multitude of studies show that students and teachers excel in healthy environments that have ample day-lighting. Through extensive discussions with the staff and School District, day-lighting was carefully studied so as to evaluate where the most effective window placement could be while minimizing any locations for potential safety concerns. In conjunction, Discovery Elementary School is one of the first elementary schools in the region to introduce LED lighting throughout the entire facility. When natural day-lighting is not sufficient, LED lighting systems have been designed to provide additional illumination. This marriage of systems, is providing the owner with a highly energy efficient design that is minimizing energy costs. One of the main concerns that we heard from the School District and staff was the overwhelming concern for student safety during drop off and pick-up times. Through thoughtful planning, an enhanced drop off & pick-up area was designed to be extremely efficient for parents allowing quick and easy movements to drop off and/or pick up students. Bus traffic is routed through a separate site entrance thus keeping kids safer entering and exiting the school-grounds whether it be by car or bus.
Family owned and operated, Black Gold Farms took root in Park River, 40 miles north of Grand Forks, more than 80 years ago. Today they are a global production with farms all over the United States, yet they maintain a strong connection with the Red River Valley and desired to stay close to the home farm. Their new LEED Gold corporate headquarters reflects the company’s philosophy of “developing more than a high quality product.” By designing with passive systems and incorporating natural day-lighting, geothermal energy, brise soleil, a retention pond and an on-site farm, the building is able to truly “think globally, act locally.” The company assisted in boosting the local economy by commissioning many local artists who created the art, furniture and personal touches to the building, such as the reclaimed wood reception backdrop, NDSU Bison display and the vintage potato chip can collection in the lobby.The project had such a great outcome that it sparked the development of other agriculture technology corporations along South 42nd Street, planting the seeds for an ag-related headquarters in Grand Forks. Overall, Black Golds’ new headquarters is an extension of the company’s values. With a modern design and traditional materials, the headquarters represents their deeply rooted history and farming knowledge as well as their focus on the future.