New Mettie Jordan Elementary School - Eunice, NM

The new 81,000 SF Mettie Jordan Elementary School is an $18.6 million facility designed for 400 students from Pre-K to 5th grade, and replaces a 50+ year old school that had become costly to maintain and was not in compliance with current educational adequacy standards.

The design draws from the community’s character by using the iconic imagery of pump jacks of the gas, oil, and alternative energy business that is the critical economic driver in the region. Entry canopies serve as gateways to the school and community alike; these and other architectural elements are abstract representations of the energy business.

The replacement school includes:

  • Classrooms
  • Administration
  • Media Center
  • Cafeteria with District Kitchen
  • Gymnasium
  • Other district-wide shared facilities

The new site unifies the campus and creates a pedestrian-friendly environment for students, staff and community. The plan allows for future development of the middle school, district offices and community shared athletic facilities.

The building was oriented to accommodate many restrictions occupied campuses experience. The existing facility had to remain open throughout construction, which limited the possible locations for the new building.  The site design had to accommodate separated bus student drop-off and parent student drop-off locations while maintaining ease of access to both. The main entry needed to be identifiable from the north edge of the property, and the shared cafeteria had to be more centrally located for all three schools to use equitably.

Large sweeping exterior walls soften edges and reinforce movement in and around the building. Extending beyond the interior constraints, they create interaction between community and school, and suggest a path from a student’s journey in education to life beyond. The architectural style promotes interest and investigation among students and teachers by using different materials, recessed openings, scalable spaces, and a variety of colors.

The building is designed to meet or exceed the code adopted energy standards at the time of design completion, which will produce lower operating costs over the life of the building reducing current O&M budgets. The savings will be applied to other educational budgets that impact students.

Phasing was important because the new school was built on an existing site, and included multiple phases, starting with the demolition of the existing cafeteria, tennis courts, and shop space. Given the remote location of Eunice, phase planning and subcontractor coordination was critical to assure the timely arrival of materials and manpower to follow the sequential critical path schedule of all phases. The second phase consisted of the existing elementary school demolition to make room for the school’s new entry way and parking lot.

Eunice School District