Carter Lake Elementary School

Council Bluffs Community School District

Carter Lake, Iowa

2011 Completion

$9.1 Million

Carter Lake is a 3,700 person Iowa city on the west bank of the Missouri River served by the Council Bluffs Community School District.  It is the twin school of College View Elementary which is located in Council Bluffs.  Carter Lake Elementary School replaced an existing dilapidated building.  BCDM worked with the District to design a facility that reestablished the school as a community icon while providing a collaborative learning environment for students.

The brick patterning on the exterior conveys excitement and energy yet emphasizes window and door openings creating a rhythm along the building facade.  The arched entry reaches out – welcoming everyone to the school.

Inside, students gather within the commons and view their peers, outstanding classwork, learn about events through visual displays, participate in kinestheic learning by engaging with numbers, letters, and compass directions cast into the terrazzo floor, and interact with peers, teachers (and parents).

Interior arches signify “Portals” to the world of learning and provide direction to students assisting them in finding the different learning areas in the school.  The classrooms engage students and teachers by providing space to explore different learning styles and elevate learning through natural light, bold color and dynamic furniture placement for both small and large groups.  The Media Center defines the importance of education by directing students to a reading nook – as reading is fundamental to lifelong learning.