The project also included a new 3,300 sq. ft. Fine Arts Center and the renovation of the 6,000 sq. ft. Tallant Science Center. Sitework included a new entry portal, rear entrance, and updated central court along with utility upgrades. All construction was performed while the school was occupied.
The Student Commons building highlights sustainable strategies that were also integrated into the school curriculum to help educate students about the potential of sustainable design. Energy use is minimized by the Student Center — an array of 136 photovoltaic panels generates 31 kilowatts or approximately 60% of the energy needed to power the building.
The building is passively cooled through ceiling fans and operable clerestory windows while overhangs, sunshades, Solarban-60 low E-squared double-glazed windows minimize heat gain. Thermal mass in the concrete floors and a 2,500 sq. ft. living roof moderate temperature swings in the building.
The building is heated with closed-loop hydronic radiant flooring. Ample daylighting is provided for interior spaces, reducing the need for electric lighting. When necessary, high-efficiency interior dimming fixtures with daylight sensors provide supplemental light. Indoor air quality is prioritized using low-emitting and non-toxic materials, as well as natural ventilation strategies, which were simulated and tested through Computer Fluid Design analysis.
The living roof, rain gardens, pervious surfaces, and underground retention systems reduce storm-water runoff. Potable water use is minimized through native drought tolerant landscaping, ultra-low flow fixtures, and waterless urinals. Additionally, over 90% of construction waste was recycled and construction materials include recycled or rapidly-renewable products, cement with 30% fly ash, and FSC Certified wood.