Exterior of Porter Leath Early Childhood Academy
Lobby at Porter Leath Early Childhood Academy
Changing station at Porter Leath Early Childhood Academy

Porter-Leath Early Childhood Academy

Memphis, Tennessee

32,000 GSF

For over 160 years, Porter-Leath has been the primary resource for Memphis’ at-risk children and families, seeking to help families create a healthy foundation upon which a stronger community can be built. A state-of-the-art preschool and teacher training institute, the Porter-Leath Early Childhood Academy was designed with child-friendly architecture in mind — utilizing bright colors and natural light to create a safe environment that encourages play and exploration.


  • Design maximized flexibility of lighting to include daylight and allow variations in lighting intensity and area lighting, as well as through the use of dimming devices or multi-level switching.
  • Facility was provided with an intelligent, microprocessor-based, addressable fire alarm system, which reports the status of each device.
  • Direct Digital Control building automation system was provided for ease of building control and integrates aspects of the HVAC system such as room temperature, remotely turning Air-Cooled Rooftop Units (RTUs) on/off, and scheduling of all RTUs.
  • Thermostats are tamper-proof and inaccessible to children; however, consideration was given to temperature and air quality at child level.
  • Observation Rooms monitor two classrooms containing two microphones in each room, while an audiovisual wall plate in each observation room has the capability of switching between one of the two classrooms to listen to audio.
  • Conference room with Distant Learning System, including wall-mounted flat panel display and four ceiling-mounted microphones for audio enhancement of participating attendees, was also provided.
  • Facility was provided with a complete perimeter security and access control wiring system, including electric locks, motion sensors, card/key fob readers, and remote monitoring capabilities per the Owner’s standards.

Learn more about projects similar to the Porter-Leath Early Childhood Academy by viewing our early childhood portfolio.

Photography by Tom Kessler Photography

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