Case Histories (Real-World Solutions)

More Color Means More Flexibility in Learning

Interface classroom improvements

More color and better IAQ were two of the benefits Interface offered designers at the Fred and Sara Machetanz Elementary School.

The Fred and Sara Machetanz Elementary School in Wasilla was the first school in Alaska to receive the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED Certification, earning silver. Backed by that honor, the school, located in a former gravel pit and named after a prominent Alaskan painter and his wife, has emerged as a pioneer for sustainability in the Matanuska Susitna Borough.

Brought in by Anchorage-based architectural firm McCool Carlson Green, Interior Designer Cathy Kerr made sure Interface was a component in the journey. High-recycled content products contributed to the more than 30 percent total recycled content needed for the building to achieve its LEED certification. Plus, Interface products help maintain an increased indoor air quality in the school since tiles install —with no glue and meet the highest standards for indoor air quality. And then there’s the aesthetics. Kerr carefully selected bold color combinations to contrast against Alaska’s monochromatic winter landscape while creating a stimulating learning environment.

According to Kerr, there’s some science behind the color scheme at this award winning elementary school. “I designed the interior of the school so that we used colors from all the segments of the color wheel,” she says. “We know that people respond better in a full color spectrum environment. Students learn more with color in their environment as opposed to white everywhere. So with that in mind I went searching for the perfect carpet tile to do that, and I found Interface.”

The result was an all around win, says Mat-Su Borough Facilities Manager Don Carney. “We liked the design so much that we’re going to build two more using that as a prototype.”

This article originally appeared in the issue of .