Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Many Eyes Study the Options

Recently members of the WHS Core Team, Board of Education, and the Architects met to review plans and look at the preliminary interior design features.

In this photo below all color components are seen. Samples of the exterior roof, brick, masonry, stone, floor coverings, and paint colors were considered.
At this stage only the earliest "range of palette" discussions have begun.
Very early choices were made to allow the interior designer and the architects to begin focusing the interior aesthetics of our new school. From hundreds of choices, the committee began to narrow the range of possibilities in this meeting.
One of the most inspiring aspects of this project has been the involvement of so many "owners" in the decisions that have been and will be made. In this photo alone, there are teachers, parents, architects, interior designers, project managers, alumni, and board of education members.

As a follow up to an earlier post about the "stained concrete" floors.

After "finishing", these floors reveal a very pleasing texture and coloration. To my eye it appears to be similar to "terrazzo", but much less expensive.
Within the concrete is a mix of stone chips and rock creating a conglomerate concrete appearance.

Readers asked about "stained concrete". Actually, the stain is in the concrete, not on the surface. If you were to break open this slab of floor, the color would be constant all the way through the slab.
So it is not really stained, it is solid "colored" concrete

Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters?

With homage to JD Salinger; that would be "Steelmen", not carpenters! ;-)

The first sense of scale for the radial roof is now visible. From the Hilltop Drive observation point one can see the gentle arch of the roof beginning to be set in place. This is a smaller section of the radial roof.

This is area 4 and is on the South East corner of the building. It is on level 2 (parking lot, main level) and is the beginning of the roof over the Auxiliary Gym.
Our new school will start out with an Auxiliary Gym. It took nearly 30 years to get a second gym and PE classroom in our old school.
The vertical columns indicate the demarcation point between the main building and main gym which is adjacent to the auxiliary gym.
The opening between the two levels of arched roof beams will be windows. We are "day lighting" in as many locations as possible for energy efficiency and well being. These windows will get a strong early morning light and a continuous daylight throughout the day.
Putting it together, bringing it under roof before winter, beam by beam by curving beam.
He might not be a carpenter, but I see he is using a "hammer"!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Setting a Column

This column flies in and will settle in the Commons Area. Nearly 40 feet long and several tons, it is lowered in place "blind".

The crane operator can not see where he is setting it. The crane is up on level 2, at the parking lot level. The steel worker is down on level 1 on the blind (hidden) side of the retaining wall.
The steel erector is continuously communicating with a radio to the crane operator.
With just one hand (the other holds the radio) he guides this many ton column into place.
Pulling it over to set on the bolts that were cast into the column footer.
He aligns the pre-drilled holes with the bolts and gives the "all set to go" to the crane operator.
Now it is on the bolts and the nuts are set with a pneumatic drill.
All of the steel in the entire building has been constructed by only 12 men. They put the first beam up and will assemble to the final one. 10 hours a day, five days a week.
Steel workers ~~~~ Men of Steel!

Where Does the Juice Flow?

In area 2 the main electrical room has been created. This will be the power center for the entire school. Seen here are the various electrical conduits that will supply all areas.
These conduits will carry many components of power from the electrical room.
The transformers will sit outside the building on these pads and go underground, footers, foundation and floors to the electrical supply room.
From the power supply to the farthest room, conduit and lines carry the Juice. It is exciting to see the electrical feeds. Yeah, I know, kinda artsy, but I like this arrangement of line and form.

Curved Steel?

So, I am looking around in the "boneyard" (where all the various parts are waiting) and I see these curved steel beams. It's a just slight curve, a few degrees.
These are some of our roof beams!
One of the fantastic features of this building design is the roof. We challenged the architects to design a 50 year roof. It was determined that the most durable, most efficient, most leak proof, most aerodynamic, and most continuous roof would be a curved roof!
This type roof is called a "radial roof" and is a gentle sloping curve. (Recently, Grandfather Mountain went with a radial roof design on their new building.) Soon, the steel erectors will be setting these roof beams in place.
I find myself wondering what the radius of this curve is? It is not anywhere near as great as a dome, more like a shallow bowl. I bet there is a math student who could find an answer, maybe a teacher will develop a problem. I see there are 90 degree and 45 degree angles what is the missing component that would help us figure out the degree of curve?

Most of the roof will be three pieces in width, some will be four wide. This continuous roof will have to cover the width of the gym and commons area. It will eventually be a gray metal roof.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Coming Soon Areas 4,5, and 6

The footers are starting to be completed in Areas 4, 5, and 6. This is the area in front of the classroom wings. This is the front of the building. It is East facing. In this section there will be the Auxillary Gym, the Main Gym, the Lobby and Front doors, Main Offices, Student Services, Cafeteria, Kitchen, Media Center, Commons, Theatre, and Band Room. The building design placed the "public access" areas of the building on the front for ease of community use. We can secure and lockdown the classroom areas during public events.
Once Steel construction is complete on the wings, the erection on these sections will begin.
Here's a quiz.... what is this "curved" footer all about?
It is in Area 5, and will eventually rise as a curved wall.
Use your creative thinking cap arts folks, this is one of yours..... ;-)

What's in a Concrete Floor?

Once graded to level, gravel is placed 6-10 inches deep around the footers and masonry. Plumbing supply lines, electrical feeds, and other conduit is sunken into the gravel base ahead of the concrete pour.

Water barriers are then laid on top of the gravel. Steel web or grids are placed as reinforcing and forming support on top of the vapor lock.

Expansion boards are placed along all masonry to allow for expansion and contraction of the poured concrete.
This photo shows the poured concrete floors to the right. These areas are inside of classrooms and will be covered with a floor covering. The middle is the hallway and has yet to be poured. It will be a colored concrete.
Around columns a form is built and expansion or "isolation" joints are poured. In theory they allow the column to move without cracking the floors.
These are examples of the possible color stains for the concrete. This is a sample pouring for study.
At this time, they are unfinished and raw. They have not been sanded or polished. A team of teachers and BOE members will help make the decision on the final colors.


In area 3, on level 2 the first of the stud walls have begun to be installed!
The stacks of board are the first external layer that will be put on the studs followed by masonry.
These are steel studs and are built to last! Windows are showing and you will note they are oversized.
One of the healthy building components is plenty of day lighting. Most of our windows face North or South. This utilizes the sun for optimal lighting while insuring there is no harsh east or west glaring light.
Below is the end or west view of area 3. It was the first area that was begun in construction and is now showing features of many aspects of the wings.
The stud wall on level 2 is at the end of the wing. The masonry work on the right is the stair wells. Soon the stairs and steps will be set in place.

The masonry in these and other walls is "three hour fire safe". It is the most solid and durable of masonry walls. The "three hour rating" means that in theory, these walls would take a burning fire at least three hours to penetrate.

They are super dense masonry with each and every cell in every run filled with grout making them truly solid masonry walls.

Safety of our children and community have been a foremost consideration in all of our design for the new WHS.

10,000 Gallon Cisterns

I have mentioned that we are capturing our rainwater from the roof of our building. This captured graywater or "free" water will be used for irrigation and in other water saving ways. In between the classroom wings there are six 10K gallon cisterns buried beneath the commons.
I have been asked "how" we capture this water from the roof. In an ordinary roof drain the water flows down the gutter, to the downspout, and out the drain. We will capture from the roof, to the gutters, then our downspouts tie into a roof leader below the surface grade, around a perimeter storm drain pipe system and into the cisterns.
They were being fitted with tiedowns to the concrete anchors in this photo. They will be surrounded with gravel and fill.
At any given time, we will have 60,000 gallons of "gray water" or captured water available for recycling!
How big is a 10K gallon tank? This photo shows the scale to human size.
One of our "sustainable" features in the new high school. :-)

Sunday, August 3, 2008

New Aerials from July

New Aerial photos have arrived! These photos were taken by SkySite Aerial Photography - by Charlie Sarratt for Vannoy Construction Company.
This photo is looking North and was taken on July 18.
Looking East.
Looking South, much progress has been made even since mid July.
This is a rough diagram of the layout of campus. The footers are going in for most of areas 4 and 5 now. Nothing in this photo is architecturally accurate (except that which has been built! ;-) and is offered to help the viewer to better understand the layout of the campus.
Areas 3, 2, and 1. The classroom wings. Each at different stages of completion.