Designer Forum - Aug/Sep 2012

By Brian Hilvert

 

Located on a campus setting, the new London Middle School sits adjacent to a new elementary school and renovated high school and completes a decade-long rebuilding process to reinvent the London City School District. The new sixth grade through eighth grade school was designed with the latest technologies and sustainable initiatives, and it supports the district’s goals of enhancing the performance of both students and teachers, as well as being good stewards of the taxpayers’ dollars. 

The exterior is a combination of traditional elements, matching the other two existing schools, along with contemporary massing and styling to give the building its own unique style. The interior boasts a 21st century learning environment flooded with natural daylight, with technology and materials that are sustainable, durable and help in reducing maintenance costs. In fact, the project was such a success that the district immediately saw improvement in both teachers’ and students’ attitudes, with improvements in test scores and reduction in both student and teacher sick days. The school is a model for energy efficiency and sustainability and is the first school in Ohio to earn a LEED Platinum rating.

The school boasts a geothermal heating/cooling system, 20 solar tubes and light baffles for daylighting, and 20 acres of prairie grass for restoring habitat. In addition, 37% of the materials were regional and 25% were made from recycled material. Savings compared to baseline standards include 42% energy savings and 40% reduction in water usage. A 71.2kW solar array also generates more than 15% of the school’s yearly energy needs.

The building is laid out with three classroom wings, each housing a grade level. Connecting each classroom wing is the central corridor that also links them to the main office, gymnasium, student dining and media center. The use of roof monitors and light baffles, along with view windows, allows ample daylight to flood into every classroom. Some of the connecting corridors were single loaded, allowing for glass on the exterior side to bring daylight and views in the corridor spaces. DayLite tubes bring natural light into areas like the kitchen and restrooms, and even as a decorative item to light an acrylic media column as a focal point in the library.

One of the main design themes used throughout the school was the idea of creating spaces and rooms that went beyond the boundaries of walls. This was achieved in several areas throughout the building and enhanced with floor patterns, ceilings and color. The floor pattern in the Extended Learning Area (ELA) is depicted as a large solid color area that extends into the corridor, and is mimicked by the lowered floating ceiling plane that pulls your eye into the ELA as you walk down the corridor, giving the impression that you are walking through part of the room. This same idea is also implemented at the student dining area and media center. Each of these rooms is separated from the corridor by glass walls, allowing them to visually appear to extend into the corridor while maintaining acoustics and security in each space. 

Wayfinding was also an important concept in the design of the school and was established by the use of graphics, color and floor patterning. When designing schools, you are always expected to use the school’s colors, which can be difficult. Because of this, it was decided to provide each grade with a color and use that as the primary accent color in its respective wing. In the case of this project, the school’s primary color of red was used for the 8th grade wing, blue in the 7th grade wing and green in the 6th grade wing. The base field colors were shades of beige and tan to keep the overall palette neutral and warm. The accent colors were used in the floor patterns in large solid color blocks to establish the overlapping of spaces.

The flooring materials were chosen with four things in mind: cost, durability, maintenance and sustainability. The majority of the flooring throughout all of the classrooms, corridors and student dining spaces is Nora’s Environcare rubber tile flooring. Even though the initial cost for rubber tile is higher than most traditional flooring products used in schools, like VCT, the district chose to go with the rubber tile because of its superior durability and minimal maintenance as a no-wax floor. The high durability of the rubber tile is its strongest sustainability feature, allowing the product to remain on the floor through most of the life of the building, thus minimizing new material cost and landfill waste of the old material. The no-wax, low-maintenance feature also affects its sustainability profile by reducing the amount of chemicals and solvents needed to maintain the floor. In addition, rubber tile products have good acoustic abilities, helping the keep down the noise between classrooms, which also helped in achieving the LEED credit for acoustics. Carpet tiles from Shaw are located in areas like the main offices and media center. This a great solution for a high-traffic environment, because any stained or damaged piece of carpet tile can be easily cleaned or exchanged without having to replace an entire area; the damaged tile is simply removed and replaced from attic stock without any down time or moving of furniture and equipment. Shaw’s Site Lines and Gradient carpet tiles offered both post-consumer and post-industrial recycled content. The carpet tiles are also PVC-free, 100% recyclable at the end of their life, meet the requirements for CRI Green Label Plus, and are MBDC Cradle to Cradle Silver certified.

In the end, the school district got more than it asked for. The new London Middle School not only boasts a better learning environment but it also contributes positively to the community by saving money in both energy costs and lower maintenance costs. This allows for more funds to go where they are needed most, to the teachers and the students, highlighting the positive impact of sustainable design.


Copyright 2012 Floor Focus 



Other Archived Articles

NWFA Seeks Entries for Community Service Awards   Full Article
St. Louis, MO, Jan. 9, 2015 -- The theme of this year's National Wood Flooring Association Expo is "Play it Forward."

Wholesale Inventories Increase in November   Full Article
Washington, DC, Jan. 9, 2015 -- U.S. wholesale inventories recorded their largest increase in seven months in November, according to the Commerce Department.

NAR Economist Expects 7% Home Sales Increase   Full Article
Washington, DC, Jan. 9, 2015 -- Existing-home sales are forecast to rise about 7% in 2015, according to National Association of Realtors Chief Economist Lawrence Yun.

Unemployment Falls in December on 252K New Jobs   Full Article
Washington, DC, Jan. 9, 2015 -- The unemployment rate fell to 5.6% in December as the economy created 252,000 jobs to close out the year, according to the Labor Department.

Green Seal Begins Client Services Program   Full Article
Washington, DC, Jan. 8, 2015 -- Green Seal, the environmental certification organization and the original “Green Seal of Approval,” said it has begun a client services program led by Mark Stanland, a long-time industry marketing professional.

Torlys Adding Facility in Calgary   Full Article
Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Jan. 8, 2015 -- Torlys said it is opening a new 31,000-square-foot facility that includes office space, a product showroom, and a warehouse in Calgary.

Immigration Policy Could Boost Housing Market   Full Article
Cambridge, MA, Jan. 8, 2015 -- President Obama’s executive action on immigration could provide a significant impetus to the housing market, according to George Masnick at Harvard University's Joint Center for Housing Studies.

Jobless Claims Fall Slightly Last Week   Full Article
Washington, DC, Jan. 8, 2015 -- Initial claims for unemployment benefits fell slightly last week and remained below 300,000, according to the Labor Department.

Planned Job Cuts Fall in December   Full Article
Chicago, IL, Jan. 8, 2014 -- Planned jobs cuts in December by U.S.-based employers fell to a total of 32,640 workers, according to outplacement firm Challenger, Gray and Christmas Inc.

CFI Offers Carpet, Resilient Workshops at Surfaces   Full Article
Las Vegas, NV, Jan. 8, 2015 -- Certified Floorcovering Installers is offering training at the Surfaces trade show this month.

Nemo Tile Names Juranich CEO   Full Article
New York, NY, Jan. 7, 2015 -- Frank Juranich has been named COO of Nemo Tile Co.

Mortgage Application Volume Declines Sharply   Full Article
Washington, DC, Jan. 7, 2015 -- Mortgage application volume fell 9.1% last week from two weeks ago, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey.

Private Employers Hire More Than Expected in December   Full Article
Roseland, NJ, Jan. 7, 2015 -- U.S. private employers added 241,000 jobs in December, according to payrolls processor ADP.

Oil Plunge Could Hurt Home Prices in Some Areas   Full Article
New York, NY, Jan. 7, 2015 -- Although home prices have continued to rise, plunging oil prices could cause a slow-down in price appreciation in some markets, according to analysis firm CoreLogic.

Domotex To Feature Innovations in All Categories   Full Article
Hannover, Germany, Jan. 6, 2015 -- Domotex 2015, which runs Jan. 17-20, will once again feature the best of floorcovering in all categories.

Factory Orders Fall Again in November   Full Article
Washington, DC, Jan. 6, 2015 -- Factory orders in the U.S. fell for a fourth straight month in November, according to the Commerce Department.

Services Sector Expands Again in December   Full Article
Washington, DC, Jan. 6, 2015 -- The services sector of the economy continued to grow in December but at a slower pace.

WONZ To Show New Fiber Technology at Surfaces   Full Article
Marietta, GA, Jan. 6, 2015 -- Wools of New Zealand said it will exhibit rugs colored with gold to introduce a new fiber technology at Surfaces 2015 Jan. 20-23.

Former Burtco President Kokoszka Dies   Full Article
East Ridge, TN, Jan. 6, 2015 -- Robert Edward Kokoszka, 76, of East Ridge, died early Friday, Jan. 2.

Beaulieu Holding Series of Regional Events   Full Article
Dalton, GA, Jan. 6, 2015 -- Beaulieu America is taking its new products and promotions to dealers across the country in the form of regional events it calls “Dealer Family Reunions.”