About Our Building
Grand Rapids Christian Elementary School (Preschool - 4th grade), located in the heart of one of Grand Rapids’ most historic neighborhoods, 1050 Iroquois SE, brings together our three traditional-calendar Christian elementary schools onto one, state-of-the-art campus, which opened in August 2010.
According to Grand Rapids Christian Schools Superintendent Tom DeJonge, we reached an important milestone, one which “signals a new beginning, maximizes resources to support Christ-centered teaching, strengthens programs, increases access to families from diverse socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds, and sends a visible message to the community that Grand Rapids Christian Schools is serious about its commitment to the City of Grand Rapids and continuing the legacy that began more than 100 years ago.”
In designing the new facility and campus, architects from AMDG Architects Inc. went to great lengths to preserve the look and feel of the surrounding neighborhood. Peter Baldwin, AMDG Architect, said the buildings design actually grew out of the existing neighborhood context in two primary ways: 1.) through the massing and sloped roofs that follow suit with the traditional construction represented in the appearance of the surrounding homes, and 2.) through the brick and stucco material which is also common to the area.
Additionally, architects were able to incorporate elements from Iroquois Middle School into the new facility, and as a result, preserve its legacy within the new composition.
The new school’s design also adds to the integrity of the neighborhood:
- The design respects the pedestrian nature of the neighborhood by increasing pathways through the site.
- The design enhances the open/green space of the site - strengthening the park-like quality of the campus and decreasing the ‘footprint’ of the new school.
- The park on the east side of the property, known as Pontiac Field, was preserved and includes a renovated track, soccer field, and improved playgrounds for student and neighborhood use.
- An outdoor amphitheater was created on the east side of the new school for student use.
Architects also took environmental responsibility seriously in the formation of the new campus. According to Baldwin, “The design of the facility is incorporating sustainable principles and is more energy-efficient as well as more user friendly with respect to providing a healthier environment for the students and staff.”
- Through demolition and construction of the new school, ground and building contaminants identified in comprehensive environmental quality assessments were appropriately removed according to Department of Environmental Quality standards.
- More than 1 acre of green space was added to the property.
- Ground water retention and absorption rates are increased.
- Energy use is dramatically decreased by utilizing green and white roofs, a more efficient physical plant, increasing the tree canopy, and decreasing the size of the building by 65%.