“Prairie grain storage vernacular” is the label Denver architect John Anderson favors for this school, published in Architectural Record in 1987. Tall silos and grain elevators inspired the massing, while the stuccoed walls borrow their color from the surrounding wheat fields. The walls and columns are striped like the strata of the nearby limestone cliffs. This Post-modern complex sprawling over 70 acres is wrapped around a central three-story bell tower. Separate elementary and high schools, with individual libraries and a shared music room in octagonal pavilions, flank an arcaded cross-axial spine. A series of courtyards clarify relationships between the buildings. A perpendicular loggia connects the 458-seat auditorium-gymnasium-cafeteria, which also doubles as a community performing arts center. Low-tech construction systems, like stuccoed masonry block walls, standing-seam steel roofs, and wood roof trusses, used local labor to reduce costs and strengthen the agrarian economy.
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Wray Elementary and High School
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