The Wentzville School District (WSD) continues to be the fastest growing school district in the state of Missouri, adding an average of 500 to 600 new students each year since 2001. Completed in 2020, the 104,974 sq. ft. Journey Elementary School is the most recent addition and is the largest elementary school in the district and includes a Tornado Shelter.
Journey Elementary is from a “prototype” design that the WSD has utilized since 2005 in order to help maintain its budget. By utilizing a similar blueprint for all its new schools, the district has been able to save upwards of $900,000 in construction costs. While Journey Elementary follows this standard design, elements of the prototype have been modified to ensure that the new school complies with 2015 Building Codes.
The school was built partially with cash from the WSD funds as part of the K-6 Plan for Growth which shifted all 12 elementary buildings from K-5 to K-6, alleviating overcrowding at the district’s three middle schools without a tax increase. Built in two construction phases, with substantial completion making the facility available for August 2020 classes and the balance of the facility available in October 2020. The new school consists of general & special education, art & music classrooms, a full-size gymnasium/Tornado Shelter, a multi-purpose room for the cafeteria, kitchen & serving areas, general storage, mechanical & electrical rooms, data rooms, offices and restrooms.
The design team of Hoener Associates (Architect), Bax Engineering (Civil), and McClure Engineering (MEP) met the challenge of updating the prototype design to meet the new Building Codes and issued the project under budget and under a very tight schedule.
The facility is designed for a total population of 1,257 and includes 46 classrooms. In order to accommodate its growing student population, a larger cafeteria and serving line was implemented. In addition, the HVAC system included a central plant with water cooled chillers and natural gas fired water heaters. Classroom HVAC systems are variable air volume with heating water reheat and energy recovery from exhaust air. The lighting is dual level LED lighting with manual ‘on’ and occupancy sensor ‘off’ controls.
In order to adapt the “prototype” design to meet current district needs, some areas of the new school needed to be redesigned, including the design of the Gym as a Tornado Shelter with emergency generator and dedicated utility services.
The district utilized its Architectural and Engineering team of Hoener Associates Architects and McClure Engineering to design Journey Elementary as an energy efficient facility. Energy efficient lighting and lighting controls account for greater than 120,000 kWh in savings. The remaining balance of savings is from energy recovery and energy efficient heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning systems.