Monday, March 30, 2009

Follow Me Down the Commons!

The commons is the open area that stretches from the cafeteria to the north end of the school.

To give you an idea of the length of the commons and hallway out to the bus pick up I have taken this photo. The view is from the serving line of the cafeteria. The light at the far end is the exit to the bus pick up. It is more than the length of a football field!
There are two main stairs and this is the North stair well down.

The next photo looks up to Level 3 in the same stair way.
(The connecting level of stairs have not been built in yet! :)

Following is the first video I have uploaded to the blog!
It is a walk down the length of the commons starting from the serving line in the cafeteria and ending at the exit at the north end of the hall.
I was walking at an adult pace, non stop, and it took one and a half minutes.
On the right you will see the Main Gymnasium pass by, followed by the main entrance, then the media center, and finally the chorus room and exit.
Click on the arrow to view the video, sorry about the audio, I had hoped to be able to dub in better commentary. I'll improve the script the next time we take this walk!
I hope you enjoy the stroll ~~~

Auditorium or Theater???

This view is from the middle of the house. The stage is elevated and the floor of the stage is at the level the bucket lift is sitting. With a good "rake" or incline to the seating, this stage should be very visible to the audience.
A glance to the left of house shows the height of the interior wall and arched ceiling. Acoustic clouds will be hung to create good acoustics within the theater. To the left of this photo is the front of the school, the east side.
This image is taken from the stage floor looking out over the house toward the balcony. We have a two tiered balcony which will seat about 150 people.
This photo was taken straight forward from center stage looking at the balcony. The white construction hats at the bottom of frame are on people standing in the center of the theater.
The corners of the balcony are curved to echo the curve in the roof. This will be a showcase feature in our new school and we look forward to sharing it with our community. Wonder what Ms. Miller and Mr. Pope will offer for our first Spring show in 2011? What ever they choose to perform, it will be spectacular!

Just Beginning to be Developed

The science area is just beginning to be developed. This is the first time it has been clear in Area 5, 6 so that we can grasp the expanse of the science area.
Designed to be in a central location for all students it spans the length of the classroom wings. While the walls are not up, one can sense the scale and size of the Science department at our new WHS.

These steel braces beneath the deck of the roof are the framing supports for the Solar Tubes. Natural lighting will be collected through these features and channel light into the classrooms with mirrors and prisms. We saw these in a school visit to North Guilford and were impressed with the light they provided. I will try to locate pictures I took there in 2007 and share them soon.
All plumbing lines are supported by hangers of various sizes throughout our building.
Hangers allow for flex and kick in the water supply as pressure varies and air is forced through the lines when the pumps kick on pushing water through the miles of capillary lines. water pump post

New Areas Shaping Up~

Each floor of each wing has its own breaker room with dedicated breaker boxes. These rooms look quite complex, but nothing compared to the main electrical room shown in this post: electrical infrastructure link
In our old school we couldn't run a projector and computers and fans and even lights at the same time without flipping breakers.

It is exciting to see how well we have planned ahead to "power" our needs in the new school.
These three roll up doors will be in the Auto shop. It is on level 1 in area 1. Designed there to allow drive up for maintenance and equipment.
The classroom sections within the Auto Shop are taking form. They are designed with windows since they are small rooms within the shop. So much about automobiles can be learned and diagnosed by computers these days. But, you already know that!
The CTE area is shaping up with these large garage doors that will allow them to work inside and move out construction projects as necessary.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Drywall Finishing ~ Beginning!

In Area 3 and 2 some of the drywall is finishing is beginning. As you look down this hall (which just a few weeks ago was only roughed in) you can see the nice finished surface on the drywall. The insets are either door entry or locker bays. Notice the sprinkler system is in place (a feature we do not have in our old school :(....
Some of the rooms have finished with drywall work and are beginning to have accent colors added. This is a three window room.

Most rooms have at least two windows and this is the typical window. Note the color on the accent wall to the left.
Here is another room that has color added. Each wing will have different color harmonies. There were three basic color schemes to be used throughout the academic wings.
Though I must admit I do not recall if it was to be colored by level or by wing. Level meaning "floor" (1st, 2nd, 3rd) or by "wing" (area 1,2,3). I'll ask about that and clarify later.
This would be the warm orange color scheme. This view shows the teaching wall on the left and the outside wall on the right. The color on the floor is "dustdown", a material which is used to absorb dust in the finished areas. The actual floor will have an harmonious colored vinyl type floor covering.

What's Between the Wings?

Lots of deep mud on this day! As you can see, it is a soggy bottom in this area. Once Spring begins to dry out, this 90ft wide area between the wings will be a courtyard/green space.
But, clean up and drainage can't be worked on just yet since our rain water capture tanks are beneath the ground out there.

The wing on the left is area 1. Since we are on ground level, this is level 1 area 1. CTE class rooms and shops are mainly on this floor.
It is hard to imagine now, but this area is going to be beautiful. It is the area of the structure facing out toward the green space in the previous photos. The rusted steel finish on these exterior columns will be covered with manufactured stone. This will be repeated on the columns on the inside of the window too. Bringing outside in is an architectural design concept.
The red arrow indicates the columns to be rock. The blue arrow indicates the wall of windows, called "clerestory" (pronounced clear story) that will open up facing west and over looking the green space. The commons area will be day lighted through these huge windows.

R L V??? and Band Room

This area is know as the RLV. What is that?
It also has another name that has changed since most of us adults have used this part of the school. Now known as the "Media Center" formally know as the Library! RLV stands for "Reading, Listening, and Viewing" area, which is what this space has been designed to accommodate.

Some of the breakout rooms, work spaces, and equipment rooms are beginning to be framed in within our Media Center. The shape is a long rectangle and along the columns in the first photo, there will be a wall of glass with open views into the commons area.
Just down the hall from the library is the Band room. Our band room will have high arched ceiling, nearly 24 feet high at the apex. Mr. Walker will enjoy filling this space with the joyful music of his young instrumentalists.

This is the band room from the outside of the building. A few windows on the east side will bring pleasant lighting in the mornings.
This is a curious component in the structural design of this section of the building. It is a wind brace, or torque angle beam. Designed into the structure, these systems insure no twist or lateral torque can happen in our structure. There are several in all areas, hidden for posterity as they become covered by the walls only architects, builders, and readers of this blog will know they are there! ;-)

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Hydro Mains Where Does Water Flow?

This room houses the hydro systems, the pumps and valves that control the flow of water throughout our building. These are large pipes and pumps, 10-12 feet tall and occupying the most of the room they are installed in.

I found the forms to be quite sculptural, though I know they exist for function only.

Massive and amazing, I can imagine the force that will drive water from these pumps!
All our water passes through these pipes and valves, from the Town of Boone, to our plumbing, including the geothermal well systems. This is the heart beat that circulates water through out our campus.

Remarkable forms indeed.... Both of these rooms are secure on the maintenance level. It will be a rare opportunity to be able to see this part of our building.

Electrical Infrastructure

This photo is from within the main electrical supply point for the entire school! It looks all neat and contained and ready to flow in this photo below. Actually the grace of line and form in this photo are picture perfect!

However, in the next few photos, you will see what a major job the electrical crew has to complete! This is how you earn the title, "Master Electrician"!

If you have ever tried to figure out electrical pulls this photo will make you pull your hair out!
Imagine that every single light switch, every outlet or plug, each sensor, fan, and all electrical connections in our entire school some how flow to this point.

And then try to imagine sorting them all out and stripping all this wire to eventually connect to the breakers that will feed to the sub breaker rooms on each floor.
From where ever you look at it the fishing line entanglement will boggle your mind....
Eventually all this spaghetti will be sorted and connected in these boxes.
This area is the main electrical room and will be the operational command center for the entire campus. (And it does not include the technology pulls, they enter the building directly elsewhere!)
I'll try to get a photo when all the lines are shoved back and installed in these little boxes (though they are quite large, about 8 feet tall and 4 feet wide). For now I'll leave that mind boggle to the professionals!

Solving Problems

This huge piece of machinery is part of the HVAC system. It is the Heat and Cooling Recovery system. It is HUGE! Weighing around 8,000 pounds and standing 10 feet tall and nearly 18 feet long it awaits to be installed.

In fact, it sits down the hall on level 1
Around the corner and 18 feet below where it will be installed!
So how do you get something that big from there to here? Oh yeah, and mount it on the wall up there so it can still be accessed from all sides?
And a further question, how do you even get something that big in through the doors?
(answer to that question will be found in the post below :)

Auxialiary Gym Shaping Up

In the photo below you will see the south end wall in the auxiliary gym. I think these vertical windows will be a sweet feature of this space.

The light coming through the roof is the sound trap decking. Once covered with the metal roof, it will not be translucent. The millions of holes that you view now will trap sound thus damping the echo and reverberation in the gyms.
I was curious about this opening in the west wall of the gym (I knew there would not be a window or door there). This is a construction access point.

Some things that are delivered for installation later need a larger entry than a door way could provide, large HVAC machines, loaders, forklifts, all sorts of large equipment must continue to enter the building even as it is being closed up!
The masonry wall is irregular, called "toothing", and when all access has been made and it is no longer needed, it will be blocked back in along the toothed edges.
Dramatic light is always going to catch my attention!
To give you a sense of scale this photo shows Don Critcher, our WCS project coordinator, standing in the light! Thanks for all the work you do for all of us Don!