Proj Overview
The Bismarck Public School District has experienced rapid growth in recent years – growth that led to larger class sizes and longer commutes for many students. Built to address these challenges, the Silver Ranch Elementary and Elk Ridge Elementary Schools aim to provide a solution that not only eases the burden of transportation but also ensures smaller class sizes for students throughout the district.

Silver Ranch Elementary and Elk Ridge Elementary used the same structural design for their campuses, but they wanted different exteriors to set each school apart. The two schools were constructed simultaneously and share an identical footprint and overall design. However, they each display their unique character and charm through distinct exterior features. Together, these twin schools stand as a testament to the commitment of the community to provide exceptional educational facilities while celebrating the diversity and individuality of their neighborhoods.

The advantages of using prefabrication for these projects were multifaceted. Prefabrication offered consistency with previous schools in the region, aligning with the preferences of architects and engineers familiar with precast construction. Additionally, prefabrication accelerated the project's timeline, allowing for a quicker turnaround and the opportunity to enclose the buildings swiftly, enabling interior work to proceed even in the challenging winter months.

Each school utilized the following:
•    167 Architectural Insulated Wall Panels, totaling 32,673 square feet.
•    5 Architectural Solid Wall Panels totaling 600 square feet.
•    41 Structural Solid Wall Panels totaling 7,788 square feet.

Each school features the following:
•    24 Classrooms
•    Two Pre-K Classrooms
•    Two Music Rooms
•    One Gymnasium
•    One ED Classroom
•    One ID Classroom
•    Three Specialized Classrooms
•    Three Collaboration Spaces
•    Commons / Cafeteria
•    Kitchen
•    Two Playgrounds

Elk Ridge Elementary: Inspired by the contemporary housing located in the Elk Ridge development, Elk Ridge Elementary School's design makes it an attractive and cohesive addition to the neighborhood. The school can house a total capacity of 500 students, ensuring that as the residential development continues to grow, the school can adapt and expand without the need for portable classrooms.

The school design includes innovative design features the use of formliner with different mixes on each panel. The architectural wall panels consist of block formliner on the bottom and a random rib pattern at the tops of panels. The striking combination of charcoal and white in the two-part panels create a visually appealing facade for Elk Ridge Elementary. Working with two-part mixes and ensuring they are correctly created presented its own set of challenges, especially considering the need to turn the form daily during the manufacturing process.

These two projects show the versatility of prefabrication. One footprint with two vastly different aesthetics!


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Project Team


Icon Architectural Group


CW Structural Engineers


Northwest Contracting


Bismarck Public Schools



Precast Specialty Engineer:



Northwest Contracting

Key Project Attributes

  • Identical footprint schools but vastly different exterior looks
  • Nawkaw staining on Silver Ranch Elementary for a “barn wood” look
  • Random rib pattern on top portion of panels on Elk Ridge Elementary
  • Both schools feature multi-mix panels – the form was turned daily to accomplish the advanced panels.

Project/Precast Scope

  • Architectural Insulated Wall Panels – 167pcs – 32673 sq ft
  • Architectural Solid Wall Panels – 5pcs – 600 sq ft
  • Structural Solid Wall Panels – 41pcs – 7788 sq ft