The first new elementary school in New Mexico’s Bernalillo Public Schools district in 30 years features storefront, curtainwall and sun shades from Tubelite, Inc.

Bernalillo Elementary School’s Albuquerque-based team included Fanning Bard Tatum (FBT) Architects AIA, Ltd.; Enterprise Builders Corporation; and Southwest Glass & Glazing, Inc. This new elementary school facility was developed as part of a reorganization plan of two existing school campuses. To create a unified campus, the new 64,500-square-foot educational facility was constructed on a compact site next to the existing middle school. This positioning allows for greater operational efficiency through the shared use of parking, bus zones, game fields and playgrounds.

FBT Architects designed the new, two-story, $10 million elementary as a “High Performance School” with the building materials and system selection promoting a healthy, sustainable environment. “Natural daylighting was very important to the design of the school,” says FBT’s project manager, Jeremy Trumble, LEED® Accredited Professional. “Students and teachers were being relocated from an existing facility that had very small windows making the learning environment dark and stuffy, as well as limiting visual access for safety and security.”

The new elementary school’s teaching classrooms are arranged in three separate wings, corresponding to the three grade levels at the school. The library occupies an important corner at the middle of the second level, providing a central access point for each grade level wing and offering unrestricted views of the adjacent Rio Grande valley and surrounding vistas.

Providing students with natural views and light began with school’s orientation. “The majority of the classrooms faced north or south to help control the direct/indirect sun into each room,” continues Trumble. “Exterior sun shades were added to increase the controllability of the natural light.”

Max/Block™ sun shades by Tubelite® maximize daylighting and minimize solar heat gain. These benefits, coupled with recycled content and outside views, are key criteria for projects pursuing certification through the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED Rating Systems.

“Sun shades help significantly lower buildings’ cooling costs and energy use, while still letting natural light fill the workspace,” says Mary Olivier, Tubelite’s marketing manager. “Max/Block sun shades are easy-to-install, aesthetically-and structurally-compatible with Tubelite’s curtainwall and storefront systems.”

Trumble also notes that the Bernalillo Elementary School’s large expanses of glazing “not only enhance safety and security, but reinforce the transparency of the building.”

Optimizing strength and thermal performance on Bernalillo Elementary School, Tubelite’s T14000 Series storefront and 400 Series curtainwall accommodate a wide range of glass options and infills. The curtainwall relies on an exterior screw-applied pressure bar to secure the glass. The storefront system offers the flexibility of glazing the storefront system from either inside or outside helps reduce installation time and associated labor costs.

Linetec finished the storefront and curtainwall systems’ aluminum framing members for Bernalillo Elementary School applying paint on the interior and clear anodize on the exterior. This eco-friendly anodize process sends 90% less waste to landfills than traditional anodizing. Painted finishes also are applied and controlled in an environmentally effective manner to minimize, or even eliminate, volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These architectural-grade finishes help minimize maintenance and further protect the entrance systems’ rigorous operation.

Bernalillo Elementary School serves approximately 450 third- through fifth-grade students and faculty. Previously, these students attended Carroll Elementary, which was built in 1980 as the district’s last “new” elementary. The kindergarten through second-grade students attended Roosevelt Elementary. When the new elementary opened in August 2010, Carroll became the kindergarten through second-grade campus and Roosevelt transitioned to administrative offices.

Today, faculty and students at Bernalillo Elementary School access 21 teaching classrooms along with several special education spaces; areas for music, art and computer labs; plus a cafeteria and kitchen, administrative offices and a multi-purpose room.


Bernalillo Elementary School, 480 Calle del Norte, Bernalillo, N.M.
* Owner: Bernalillo Public Schools; Albuquerque, N.M.
* Architect: Fanning Bard Tatum Architects AIA, Ltd.; Albuquerque, N.M.
* General contractor: Enterprise Builders Corporation; Albuquerque, N.M.
* Glazing contractor: Southwest Glass & Glazing, Inc.; Albuquerque, N.M.
* Entrance systems –  manufacturer: Tubelite Inc.; Walker, Mich.
* Entrance systems –  finisher: Linetec; Wausau, Wis.
* Photographer: mattophoto architectural photography; Albuquerque, N.M.


Media contact: Heather West,