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Goodlettsville Elementary School awarded School of the Year Award

November 28, 2023 · Announcements, Projects

Award winners of from Goodlettsville and GMC

Imagine yourself as an elementary school student, taking a slide from the second floor to the first on your way to class. It’s design concepts like this that led Goodlettsville Elementary School, designed by Goodwyn Mills Cawood (GMC), to win the Tennessee School Boards Association’s (TSBA) 2023 School of the Year Award in the New School Construction: Elementary School category.

A Metro Nashville Public School, Goodlettsville Elementary School (GES) is a relationship-centered learning community of students, parents, teachers and staff with rigorous, social-emotional and academic expectations. With a focus on rigorous core academic subjects taught by nurturing and encouraging teachers, GES helps students excel in and beyond the classroom by providing engaging and differentiated instruction. This is done through incorporating technology, physical education, art curriculum, a music program and a GATE program for gifted students. 

It was imperative that the design concept be woven around the various unique spaces, inside and out, to support these special programs and services provided by the school. In conjunction with MNPS’ program requirements and design guidelines, the distinct aspects of Goodlettsville’s services were thoughtfully integrated by the design team.

Developed during the pandemic, the project came with its unique challenges; however, it also gave GMC architects a first-hand look at the dedication of Goodlettsville teachers and staff. Wearing masks for site visits, GMC’s team found teachers alone in their classrooms, virtually teaching their students as if they were in the same room.  

“It was remarkable to see the dedication and determination of the principal and her team managing the challenges of keeping the GES family running while also participating with the design team in the planning and design process for a new facility,” GMC Senior Vice President of Architecture Roy Garcia, AIA, said.  

Goodlettsville has many unique qualities about it, one being the tradition of ‘academic houses,’ which was implemented in 2015 to support students’ social and emotional learning. The house system unifies a diverse group of students across all grade levels, along with faculty and staff members, to collaborate on service-learning projects, engage in friendly competition and more.

Early in the design process, GMC re-imagined the concept of the four houses as part of a whole. The development of a unifying logo and color scheme became a guiding principle throughout the school’s design.  

GMC focused on four architectural standards to configure the new building and tie all functions together in a colorful and useable manner. Those standards are form, program, circulation and massing. All four work seamlessly together to contribute to the structural and interior design as well as other expressions for the benefit of students and teachers alike. The design concept brought together a lively exterior with a dynamic entry space to instantly tell the story of the special place GES is for students and families.  

“The new Goodlettsville Elementary School is every teacher’s dream experience of the ideal teaching environment and every student’s idea of the perfect place to learn,” GES Executive Principal Tracy Gibson, M.Ed., said. “Upon entering the halls, you are transported into a world where anything is possible, and experiences await around every corner. Full of sensory spaces, bright colors, and calming rooms, Goodlettsville Elementary is a unique school where the atmosphere is as much a teaching tool as any textbook. From the two-story slide to the sensory reading nooks and flexible furniture, students receive a learning experience like no other in this state-of-the-art elementary school.” 

Click here for an in-depth look at the design process from start to finish.