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Barack Obama Elementary School

The Challenge

The Barack Obama Elementary School project included a new, 82,000 SF, LEED Gold elementary school building plus recreational features. Despite a 54-acre overall site area, the land had large environmental area impacts along with public right-of-way frontage constraints. Only 8 acres remained for the development of the new school. The Upper Marlboro community needed a new elementary school to serve its residents, but the site did not have enough acreage for a typical elementary school. The site is also home to Dr. Henry A. Wise, Jr. High School. The school system envisioned a campus-like setting for the two schools making it even more critical that the school be designed in a strategic way to ensure the seamless flow and access to both facilities.

The Soltesz Solution

In order to address the needs of the community and bring a much needed new elementary school to the area, Soltesz was able to blend many site requirements with the high school. By constructing the elementary school in the same location as the high school, the school district can share the use of facilities such as bus access and drop off locations, parking, athletic facilities, and playfields. Soltesz solved the road frontage concerns by collaborating with the surrounding community and ultimately designing a wider road. The high school’s programs were not impacted and both schools are able to coexist and successfully utilize the site.

Prince George’s County Public Schools
Grimm + Parker Architects
Upper Marlboro, MD