Spectrum Design Architecs | Engineers

Roanoke Academy for Mathematics and Science

Virginia School Boards Association Best New Elementary School, 2006

Roanoke City Public Schools
Roanoke, Virginia

The first newly constructed school facility for Roanoke City Public Schools in 30 years, which opened in May 2005, was worth the wait. Combining the latest in technology with supportive environments that inspire students and support teachers was realized through the coordinated effort of designers, administrators, teachers and the greater community. Located in an urban, residential neighborhood on a 27-acre park adjacent to the replacement school that was demolished, the 89,100 SF school accommodates at least 550 students, pre-K -fifth grade, has 30 classrooms and a complete program for the City's REACH program.

The exterior and interior architectural design program was centered on creating a "building that would teach" through exterior and interior architectural spaces and details while supporting and fulfilling the needs of teachers and the greater community.
  • The exterior architecture replicates details found in the homes in the surrounding neighborhood and is arranged to resemble a village.
  • The overall building scale reflects the existing one- and two-story homes and integrates seamlessly, from all views and angles, the school's design into the community.
  • RAMS is arranged into three major neighborhoods separating the various grade levels.
  • Special extended learning areas centrally located in each major neighborhood for team teaching and special projects such as an inflatable planetarium.
  • Neighborhood teacher workrooms offer extensive storage and volunteer workspaces.
  • The math lab has computers, and a floor to ceiling smart board.
  • A secure outdoor classroom, with a 15-foot diameter fish pond and raised planting beds, is accessible through the attached greenhouse in the science lab.
  • The school also has an extensive media center with comprehensive library, private librarian office, and outside access to a plaza and a sundial.
  • The main entrance takes visitors directly to the administrative suite which has a large lobby, private offices for the principal and assistant principal, a large conference room and extensive casework for storage, secure closets for records, and work areas for the secretary and office volunteers. The adjacent clinic/nurse suite includes an off-clinic toilet and handicap shower.
  • To serve the greater community the school has a high school size gym which seats 250 with a separate, secure entrance with lobby and restroom facilities.
  • The art studio, computer lab and media center can also be used for evening adult classes.