ocotillo ridge elementary school
This project, funded by both School Facilities Board and bond funds, has several
elements affecting the overall design: a short schedule due to high student enrollment within the
District; a limited budget due to high construction costs in the wake of the 2005 hurricane devastation;
and several nearby residents with noise and aesthetic concerns.
To reduce costs and schedule delays due to material shortages, concrete block was used for
the exterior walls and various types of structural systems were studied to find the most durable,
efficient, and timely system.
Swaim worked closely with the community design committee to reduce the school’s impact on the neighbors. Locations of buildings and play areas were decided during design workshops and meetings. The committee also inspired the geological concept of the design to represent their love of the desert and the beautiful location of Vail School District in the Rincon Valley. Therefore, colorful murals on the courtyard side of the buildings were employed to call out the various classroom pods and further the concepts of the school. Furthermore, at the entrance of the school various decorative blocks represent the layers of rock found in canyons.