Trends in Texas School Design

We’ve heard far too many stories in recent years about schools not being safe places or the best learning envi­ron­ments for our kids.

Issues affecting schools also include a need to reduce operating and main­te­nance costs while keeping con­struc­tion costs under control. Energy effi­cien­cy, safer building materials, storm pro­tec­tion, sound control and safety are all some of the important con­sid­er­a­tions when building a new school.

Worse is when nothing changes because a school thinks they can’t afford to design and build better schools.

Schools also face a challenge in that they need buildings that will last a long time while keeping a tight budget.

Newer trends in school design have begun to change things, though it all centers on rethink­ing how a school is designed from the start. A new school should start with an archi­tec­tur­al firm who is expe­ri­enced in designing schools. 

An expe­ri­enced archi­tec­tur­al firm has learned what works and what doesn’t when designing a school. They also under­stand the unique needs of schools in Texas as well as the local building code requirements.

This expe­ri­ence extends from the initial design, to the budget con­straints of a school, best con­struc­tion practices and the long-term per­for­mance of the school.

Archi­tects know that one of the most critical aspects is how well walls are designed and detailed in new school buildings.

Energy Efficiency

Con­sid­er­ing how much annual operating costs make up of a school district’s budget, the push is on to make each school more even more sus­tain­able. Higher levels of energy effi­cien­cy are now a top priority.

New materials and systems make it possible for schools to be more sus­tain­able and energy efficient without nec­es­sar­i­ly adding to the con­struc­tion costs or time. In fact, many new materials pos­i­tive­ly impact budgets and schedules.

Recent energy code changes now require con­tin­u­ous insu­la­tion to be installed to the exterior of the school. Inno­v­a­tive archi­tects are approach­ing this new require­ment by con­sid­er­ing new wall systems that were designed with con­tin­u­ous insu­la­tion as part of the wall and not an add-on that increases costs. 

Storm Protection

With far too many schools in Texas in harm’s way of natural disasters, new schools are finding ways to protect the building, students and teachers.

Concrete can provide major struc­tur­al support to hold up in the worst storm con­di­tions. While being strong, existing concrete wall solutions such as concrete block, tilt up walls and insulated concrete forms, all have other drawbacks. These drawbacks can include the need to add insu­la­tion which takes more time and adds cost. A shortage of masons, can also cause con­struc­tion delays.

Sound Control

As land costs rise and can be harder to find, more schools are being located close to highways and other sources of noise that can distract students. Even schools that are not located next to highways want to reduce the outside sound levels. This usually means adding more layers of materials and adding costs in an effort to reduce exterior noise.

A New Wall For New Schools

The Bautex Wall System was built from the ground up with the needs of schools in mind. It is the first new wall system that has been designed in fifty years. Tra­di­tion­al wall systems now require more layers of products, more labor, added costs and con­struc­tion time to meet the needs of new schools in Texas. The Bautex system provides all of these for a new school and more, with a quickly installed and cost com­pet­i­tive system.

Less inno­v­a­tive archi­tects and con­trac­tors may be more com­fort­able with older solutions. School officials should recommend that new systems, like Bautex be considered.

To learn more about the Bautex wall system and schools, click here.

If you are planning to build a new school and are looking for an expe­ri­enced architect, here is a directory of Texas-based archi­tects with expe­ri­ence in designing schools.