A Collaboration of Vision and Voices: Incorporating Student Creativity in School Design

Finegold Alexander partners with the students and community to integrate student designs into the new Gladstone Elementary School.

Interior Rendering of Gladstone Elementary School
April 23, 2024
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Finegold Alexander is working closely with the City of Cranston on the design and construction of the new 100,000 SF Gladstone Elementary School, to replace an existing 1950’s-era school. With an enrollment of 798 students serving grades K- through 5, the new school will consolidate both Gladstone and Arlington Elementary Schools into one building.

Student engagement is an integral part of our K-12 design process to create school design that reflects its students, staff and community. For the Gladstone Elementary School project, our Finegold Alexander design team has held multiple student engagement workshops to better understand the needs of the students while also incorporating their creativity into the design of the school. Below are some examples of how the students' input, inspiration and artwork is being incorporated throughout the design of the building.

Tree Inspiration Origin

The fourth-grade class was tasked with decorating their class in a way that was welcoming to all students. During this project-based learning activity, the students developed a tree-themed graphic that would be used throughout the school to welcome all students, ethnicities and languages. Using this as inspiration, the new elementary school is organized around the tree motif, as you travel from floor-to-floor, you are emersed in a different part of the tree.

Gladstone Wall Art Graphic

Student Artwork Wall Graphics

During student engagement workshops, our design team prompted Gladstone students to draw different topics such as 'What makes you happy or feel welcome?' or 'What inspires you in nature? The goal was to incorporate the student's artwork into the wall graphics and signage. Below are some options being explored including the tree graphic with students' painted leaves on the 1st floor.

Gladstone Wall Art Graphic & Rendering

Click here to learn more about Gladstone Elementary School!