John McCain Elementary School

John McCain Elementary School in Buckeye, Arizona became a new part of the Buckeye Elementary School District in 2021. The Buckeye Elementary School District serves over 5,750 learners to date.  As many of the jobs of tomorrow do not yet exist today, the district believes all students should be provided the opportunities that best prepare them to adapt, grow, and adjust to a dynamic and changing world.

John McCain Elementary School

In August of 2021, the Buckeye Elementary School District opened a new elementary school named after the late Senator John S. McCain. Located near 247th Avenue and Lower Buckeye Road, the new elementary features more than 20 classrooms in addition to multiple other open spaces that are conducive for collaborative learning. 

This is a special one as the education leaders within the district have aspired for this school to break away from the traditional methods and become a model for future schools. The district's backbone is to hone in on helping students develop future-ready skills which is why the new John McCain Elementary school features a cutting-edge C-STEM (Coding, Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) based curriculum with learning environments that support those skill developments.

"I've never done a build where we had, from the very beginning, challenge the status quo," said Assistant Superintendent Dr. Drew Davis. "Our Superintendent was very clear, from the onset, that we were going to do things differently. We were going to start with the students and the future in mind and build a school through collaboration and computer science engineering."

Not only have the district leaders been happy with how the school has turned out, but Principal Dina Cegelka has said that it has been amazing to see how the students connect with these new modern environments compared to the traditional environments that most of them were accustomed to before John McCain was built.

"Meet the teacher night was probably one of the best experiences when teachers and parents got to walk into the building for the first time so they got to see what this learning environment was going to look like. But then once the big moments end, it's really exciting to see just the small ones when the light bulbs go off in the classroom."

While trying to make the new elementary a model for future schools, the community was also determined to represent the late Senator John McCain's greatest attributes - his energy and curiosity. Through these traits, this school is determined to operate as a place where students can aspire to exemplify those defining traits that were so important to the Senator. To help build these attributes in the students, collaboration was one of the strongest considerations when designing the building.

The Design of John S. McCain Elementary School

As you journey through the school, you will quickly find that the school's design and furniture pieces help support collaborative learning. Right when you walk into the building, you see a large community hub that they call the sky bridge and from the exterior, it looks like the landing of an aircraft carrier that is a tribute to Senator John McCain. The main entrance also features a wall design that allows for natural light to enter the building and has a timeline with many of the key milestones of John McCain.

As you venture into the classroom wings, you will see many of them have a glass partition that are expandable and contractable allowing for learning to coexist in the classroom and in the hallways. All of the furniture is mobile, supporting the idea that the classroom can expand beyond the four corners of the space.

One of the most popular designs of the school is the library spaces. Rather than your traditional setup with a lead librarian, this school has different walk-through stations where you can quickly grab whatever book you like and take it to any learning zone that you feel comfortable in. These setups are just a sneak peak of what's to come in future schools as communities adapt to their students best learning techniques.

Project Details

Location: Buckeye, AZ

Project Scope: New Construction

Project Completed: 2021

Number of Learners Impacted: 1,000

Designers: Kevin Foote

Manufacturers: Krueger International (KI), Jonti-Craft (JC), Paragon, Custom Educational Furnishings (CEF), Wisconsin Bench (WB)

Project Details

Schedule a Collaboration Session

Kay-Twelve's mission is to help schools create better learning environments and help students get the most out of their time in school by equipping them with furniture and equipment that allows for a truly collaborative experience. If you are ready to create better learning environments for your school, schedule a free collaboration session with your local Kay-Twelve Educational Design Specialist today!