Proj Overview
Timing was a major challenge for the Maplewood Elementary School project. It was critical that the new school be complete and open in time for the school year, as the old school was demolished in the summer between semesters. Utilizing precast helped with this challenge because shop drawings could be reviewed early, prior to ground-breaking, and erection of the exterior could be completed extremely quickly, allowing the contractor to dry-in the building early in the construction sequence.

As a new education building, the school was required to have an ICC 500 compliant storm shelter. Precast structural walls and double tees were utilized to meet this challenging requirement.
Since precast was used for the shelter as well as the rest of the exterior, it was easy to design the shelter to seamlessly fit in with the rest of the architecture and design, making it a feature inside and out.

The community desired an updated school building that would be comparable to other new elementary school facilities in the district. The use of precast allowed each building to be erected from the same material but was customizable enough so that each school could have their own identity through colors and design.

The front exterior of Maplewood Elementary School highlights precast as bookends to a projecting canopy and glass entry area while the exterior of the large precast storm shelter acts as a billboard with the school’s name displayed in giant letters and an abstracted green leaf pattern bringing interest and color. Biophilic design was key to the interior and exterior design concept, so a “bark” inspired formliner was selected to provide heavy texture for a full sensory experience as well as an homage to Maplewood’s maple tree namesake. The formliner is segmented with diagonal custom reveals that create angular abstracted leaf shapes. Tones of green post-applied stain were applied to give pops of color to the interior and exterior, bringing the leaves to life.

Near the entry, an outdoor classroom is partially enclosed to serve both students and community. Here the shadowing on the textured formliner plays with other architectural elements to make a substantial impact.

In the classroom wings, the brick and formliner finishes are carried through, breaking down the scale of the large exterior wall. The thin brick was laid in a vertical running bond pattern. This pattern along with the brown custom blend gives resemblance to tree bark and plays into the biophilic patterning and colors found throughout. Running the brick vertically was also a playful way to celebrate precast with thin brick as a material, since this pattern could not be achieved with traditional masonry.

The window pattern in the classroom wings was designed to be “playful” with windows of assorted sizes and elevations. This pattern was carefully developed to look random but still have repetition across precast panels. While the windows from the exterior appear random and whimsical, inside the classroom they are perfectly sized and located to provide views and daylight while leaving precious wall space for furniture and student personalization.

Upon entry into the building a large commons/cafeteria space showcases the interior wall of the storm shelter as an interior design feature. Here, the biophilic green leaf pattern and bark-textured form liner are showcased as an interior wall finish. (The design team and district appreciated the durability and textural nature of precast when utilized on the interior.)

The project utilized 116 structural insulated architectural wall panels for a total of 27,809 square feet. Eleven structural double tees (6,646 square feet) were also used in the project.

 

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Project Team

Architect:

Hollis + Miller Architects

Engineer:

Hollis + Miller Architects

Contractor:

McCown Gordon Construction

Precaster:

Mid America Precast Inc.

Precast Concrete Specialty Engineer:

TEG Engineering

PCI Certified Erector:

Building Erection Services Co.

Owner:

North Kansas City School District

Key Project Attributes

  • ICC 500 compliant storm shelter
  • Biophilic design was key to the interior and exterior design concept
  • In the classroom wings, the brick and formliner finishes are carried through, breaking down the scale of the large exterior wall.

Project/Precast Scope

The project utilized 116 structural insulated architectural wall panels for a total of 27,809 square feet. Eleven structural double tees (6,646 square feet) were also used in the project.