Finding new uses for abandoned buildings is an idea on which Houston Independent School District has capitalized. At one time, Briarmeadow Charter School was a food-processing plant with 90,000 square feet of space. For a price of $7 million, the plant has become an innovative school serving 550 K-8 students.
The project required the interior of the main building to be gutted, leaving only a concrete shell and some pre-engineered metal structures. The intent of the project was to instill the feeling of having a new school rather than just the transformation of an old plant. In order to achieve this goal, the design included a variety of finishes, such as corrugated and insulated metal panels, plaster and decorative concrete blocks.
A skylighted rotunda at the main entrance to the school, classrooms arranged in clusters of four around a carpeted space and a cafetorium with a movable partition further humanized the large building.
Architect for the project is ArcTec Associates (Houston); general contractor was Satterfield & Pontikes Construction (Houston).
For more information on these projects and others, visit www.schooldesigns.com.