Happy Hollow Elementary

Happy Hollow Elementary School is a replacement school serving grades Pre-K through 5. The previous Happy Hollow building was constructed in the early 1970s and it was at the end of its useful life. It was not energy efficient, had foundation settlement issues and water infiltration problems. Additionally, the school had no capacity for growth, and the site is located so as to make circulation to and from the school challenging. For these reasons, the Fayetteville School District elected to construct a new 65,000 square foot replacement school on an adjacent property with better circulation access. The new Happy Hollow can serve 500 students at full capacity. The design of the school takes inspiration from its namesake, Happy Hollow farm, which was established 100 years ago by writer William Lighton. At the time, the farm was a model for sustainable, efficient agricultural practices and formed the basis for what Lighton called “a place of sweet security for our children, and a place of smiling delight for our friends”.

The new Happy Hollow School seeks to embody the character and values of the original farm. The building is organized around a large courtyard with its primary view southeast towards the Boston Mountains. The building form is broken down into a series of agriculturally inspired forms, all housing spaces designed for 21st Century learning. Sustainability is a key element in the design, and sustainable features are incorporated throughout the project, including measures to control both quality and quantity of storm water run-off, heat reflective roofing and paving, landscaping that requires no irrigation, water conserving plumbing fixtures, energy efficient HVAC and electrical systems, regionally produced building materials, recycled building materials, low VOC content and waste diverted from the landfill. The primary sustainability challenge to the project was placing the large single story footprint (an owner requirement) on the sloping site. In order to balance cut and fill on site and minimize earth excavation, the building was designed to step down with grade. The result is a building with seven different floor elevations all connected by accessible ramps, varying in elevation by 9’-4” from the highest to the lowest floor.