Machetanz Elementary School is located 40 miles north of Anchorage, Alaska in the rapidly growing community of Wasilla. This community is evolving from a recent rural past into an urban future and serves as the newly developed gateway to some of the state's most accessible wilderness areas.
The design for Machetanz Elementary School had to meet educational requirements for the children within this influx of new residents while also serving as a “Center for Creating Community.” This national trend for public facilities to serve multiple functions, including community meetings, athletic activities and social events, adds complexity to design planning and execution.
Spiral Design collaborated with the project architect to visually connect light-filled classrooms with common spaces through the use of carefully-placed color and texture elements. These bold and interwoven interior color combinations support and enhance the multipurpose uses of the 54,000 sq. ft. facility by emphasizing spatial openness and flexibility.
The selection of durable, cost-effective finishes ensured Machetanz Elementary School will maintain its bright, lively and cheerful appearance over the life of the building. The community overwhelmingly embraced the facility when completed in 2010 and students and teachers attending the K-5 prototype school also shared rave reviews.
Machetanz Elementary had the honor of being the first LEED-certified school in Alaska, ensuring the school is an environmentally responsible and healthy place to learn, work, play and celebrate community.
The school successfully blends full spectrum color, texture and design to support the teaching and learning styles of this urban frontier community. Machetanz Elementary School was named the Len Mackler Award winner for Alaska at the Council of Educational Facility Planners International (CEFPI) Pacific NW Regional Meeting.