Case Study: “Wow” is the Operative Word for Pinedale Elementary
Last updated on September 16th, 2021
When the 81,000 sq. ft. Pinedale Elementary School opened in September, virtually everyone who could say “wow,” about the facility did.
Teachers, students, administrators and the public embraced the new school that captured the unique essence of the Pinedale, Wyoming, community and channeled that spirit into an environment focused on the needs of students and educators.
Construction on the school began in July 2009, just 14 months earlier. Smith System® became involved eight months later after designer Cindy Peters came on board as a consultant for the Pinedale School System. The task of outfitting the school to complement the vision of Sandstrom Associates Architecture provided a creative opportunity for her.
“The school was divided into three pods for Grades K-1, 2-3 and 4-5,” Peters says. “Each has a theme and corresponding color scheme taken from the surrounding area: Prairie Meadows, Rivers & Streams and Mountains & Forests.” The architects’ neutral color palettes for the pods gave Peters the freedom to accentuate. “I wanted to add vibrancy by using fun colors to create a fun environment for the students,” Peters says.
Peters also had to create a highly functional environment. “The principal wanted to involve the teachers on a high level,” she says. “So I started by asking them how they function in the classrooms – how they teach.” The wide range of answers told Peters that more than one style of desking would be needed. Peters would also receive input from Pinedale teachers when it came to selecting the furniture. “All four teachers from each grade level had to agree on furniture styles for their classrooms,” she says. “And all teachers had to agree on the style of seating for the school.” All of these agreements were needed inside of 10 weeks to assure a timely order and an August delivery. With the clock ticking, Peters made the logical choice.
“Smith System®,” she explains, “offered the most flexibility and lots of options.” That provided the much needed latitude to satisfy the teachers’ varying needs on the one hand while enabling design continuity on the other. Peters also noted, in keeping with the school’s architectural ethos, Smith System furniture offered “great colors and innovatively designed products.”
The next step was recommending Smith System® furniture to teachers. David Stewart, western regional sales manager, lent his expertise, providing product samples, offering pros and cons on the products and answering questions. “Cindy sought out our recommendations,” Stewart says, “and gave us carte blanche to recommend a product for each area.”
A productive series of meetings with the teachers yielded the decisions needed to place the order, which, initially, raised some eyebrows at Smith System. “I thought she was crazy,” Stewart said of Peters’ color selection.
“I saw all of these multiple, miscellaneous colors – especially for the younger grades. But it came out great. It looks really cool.”
Stewart’s assessment is widely shared. The faculty and staff love the school, and the community gave the facility rave reviews at its open house. And the students? “They were so excited to have a new school,” says Peters. “The looks on their faces as they walked down the hallways to meet their teachers and see their new school – it was very satisfying.” The experience at Pinedale Elementary School has Peters looking forward to collaborating with Smith System® in the future. “It came off really well,” she says.
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