Napaskiak Elementary School


In association with Ellerbe Alaska, Inc., Fairbanks, AK

Napaskiak, Alaska is located at the mouth of Kuskokwim Bay adjacent to the Bering Sea in southeastern Alaska. As an associate designer for Ellerbe Alaska Architects of Fairbanks, Alaska, the uniqueness of this 9,000 sq. ft. school went far beyond the climatic challenges of seasonal flooding and severe cold. Rural egress codes and functional program requirements such as customizing all casework and fixtures for each age group contributed to the one of a kind nature of this endeavor. All of the cabinetry required detailed research in order to provide the proper height and sizing necessary for each age group from kindergarten through grade eight. In addition, special education and bilingual classrooms required their own individualized design research. Aesthetically, the cabinet groupings and color selections at the interior, along with the use of brightly colored wood siding at the exterior, helped to provide energy and vitality to the student’s world. In addition, the utilization of geometric form with “zip-rib” metal roofing and appropriate massing allowed the team to introduce an interesting architectural solution in an otherwise not so interesting and harsh environment.