“We are so excited and most grateful to have a permanent home, uniquely designed to fit our needs; a place where we can set roots and grow our program and fulfill our mission to empower students, equalize the classrooms, and give hope throughout Tulsa County.”

- Nancy Bolzle, The Pencil Box Founder & Executive Director

The Pencil Box

Every child in Tulsa deserves the school supplies needed for successful learning—and Narrate Design is proud to be a part of the initiative. 50% of students enrolled in Tulsa’s public schools live at or below the federal poverty level. Accordingly, these families struggle to make ends meet and cannot afford to provide school supplies for their children. The Pencil Box is a charitable organization that seeks to equalize the learning potential of all children by providing a wide variety of classroom supplies at no cost to disadvantaged public schools.

The Pencil Box’s expanding outreach and operations outgrew its original location so we teamed up to design a building that would serve as their permanent home. Located near West 25th and Southwest Boulevard, the new facility embodies the lively, child-focused brand from the outside while serving the busy non-profit’s business needs inside, including retail, administrative offices, shipping-receiving, processing, and warehouse storage.

As a lean-run non-profit, budget and energy efficiency were also priorities. The budget for this project was established before Covid so while construction costs rose, the project budget did not. The design had to carefully consider the cost and availability of construction supplies as well as long-term operating costs. The building itself utilizes an economic metal building system that was detailed and customized with a contemporary, clean aesthetic that is streamlined for energy efficiency—it is restrained in form and color so the colorful columns along the front facade are emphasized. Also serving as a donor opportunity, these columns are inspired by the iconic namesake of the organization—each “pencil” displays a donor name.

At The Pencil Box, teachers from eligible schools in school districts across Tulsa County are invited to “shop” for classroom supplies. The new facility provides the space that employees and volunteers need to organize, store, and display supplies to ensure teachers can access what they need for their classrooms and students at no cost to them.

Learn more about The Pencil Box here.