In 2011, an F5 tornado hit Joplin, Missouri, leaving more than 1,000 residents homeless, and the elementary and middle schools with catastrophic damage. Henderson Engineers stepped in right away to design and build the combined Joplin East Middle and Soaring Heights Elementary School. Fast tracking the project so students could quickly return to school. We worked with the school district to ensure the new school had all the features of a 21st century learning environment, including learning labs, collaborative spaces, outdoor classrooms, an elementary learning park, as well as modern technology infrastructure, power, and technology cabling.
Equipped with wireless access points, interactive projectors, and flexible docking stations, each learning space allows for easier student-teacher interaction. The elementary learning park and outdoor classrooms were designed to foster open and collaborative educational settings. The building’s mechanical system consists of a 4-pipe chilled/hot water central plant with building automation controls to achieve the district’s goals of energy efficiency and long-term operational maintenance. Other components include the design of the kitchen, cafeteria, two gyms, auditorium, two FEMA storm shelters for students, and a FEMA storm shelter for the community.