Construction underway for new Oklahoma City elementary school

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Construction is now underway at the site of a new elementary school in Oklahoma City.

Western Gateway Elementary School is being built just south of the Oklahoma River.

The 36,500-square-foot elementary school, located at Southwest 15th Street and South Douglas Avenue, is set to open August 2021. The school will serve south Oklahoma City students in the College Hill, Higgins Heights, Jones Grove, Wheeler District and Will Rogers Courts neighborhoods.

Western Gateway will offer a Spanish language dominant and non-Spanish language dominant dual-immersion program. This program will give students the opportunity to read and write in their native language while gaining bilingual capabilities in the secondary language. The school will accept 380 pre-K through fourth grade students.

The building, designed by architectural firm Allford Hall Monaghan Morris, is arranged around a 6,700-square-foot internal courtyard which creates outdoor learning spaces to inspire creativity and innovation.

“Our goal has been to create a simple, flexible and timeless building full of natural light,” said Wade Scaramucci, associate director for Allford Hall Monaghan Morris. “The school was designed to enhance and embrace the early educational curriculum, providing students with varied spaces for both learning and play.”

Additional design aspects include:

  • A cafeteria with internal plantings, acting as an extension of the external courtyard
  • Colorful geometric patterns running through the building to link key spaces
  • Adaptable integrated controls and technology to save energy
  • A reinforced storm shelter large enough for all school students and faculty

Heather Zacarias, newly appointed Western Gateway head of school, said the development is an exciting step in transforming the surrounding community.

“It’s thrilling to be able to come in at the beginning stages of this project and know we’ll have a beautiful space for children to grow, thrive and learn how to make a difference in the world,” she said.

Zacarias says the building’s design embodies the collaborative culture the school strives to promote.

“This building is designed to foster creativity, ingenuity and teamwork in our students,” she said. “We know the community is excited to have an innovative, forward-thinking school dedicated to providing their children with the best education possible.”

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