Government

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.