Lusher Elementary School Willow Street Campus is located uptown in the University neighborhood and has a formalized partnership with Tulane University. The pressures of a growing student body, new buildings added over the years to accommodate this growth, and an aging infrastructure have put a strain on the diminished exterior spaces to the point that safety and usability are compromised.
While looking to solve Lusher’s immediate safety and conflicting use concerns, a further discussion was initiated through the Tulane City Center to provide a long term vision for the campus. This vision enhances the educational and curricular experience through thoughtful consideration of exterior spaces that strengthen connections to both the interior of the school and the wider neighborhood. Through extensive research on best practices and a series of presentations and collaborative meetings with key stakeholders (including neighbors, parents, administrators, and teachers), a plan was devised to guide the long-term reconfiguration of the campus exterior spaces to reflect the school’s mission and accommodate the community needs to provide an inviting, supportive and safe environment.
The design of the campus is conceived as two primary outdoor rooms connected by a linear central spine element. The two primary outdoor rooms wrap the main building and provide dynamic, sunny, informal space for the Lusher community. Other “left over” spaces around the edges of the campus have also been reclaimed in the design to accommodate new recreational, educational and environmental uses.