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  Wirth Middle School, Page 46Wirth Middle School
Design Architects, Inc. 
1400 East Tremont Street, Hillsboro, IL 62049

Cahokia, Illinois
Total Square Feet: 34,800
Construction Period: May 1999 to May 2000

Construction Team
General Contractor: Bruce Unterbrink Constr., Inc. - 915 A South 3rd St., Greenville, IL 62246
Structural Engineer: Hurst-Rosche Engineers, Inc. - 1400 East Tremont St., Hillsboro, IL 62049
Electrical & Mechanical Engineer: Hurst-Rosche Engineers, Inc. - 1400 East Tremont St., Hillsboro, IL 62049
Cost Estimator: Design Architects, Inc. - 1400 East Tremont St., Hillsboro, IL 62049

The new Wirth Middle School sixth grade facility was designed as an educational facility to accommodate sixth grade students from elementary schools in the district. The school district wanted a new facility to relieve overcrowding at the elementary schools and a facility that would employ the use of computers and the Internet. The facility adjoins the original middle school building, and is a single story building approximately 35,000 square feet in area.

The facility is designed to accommodate approximately 400 students. There are sixteen classrooms, thirteen of which are similar in size and content. The other three classrooms are specially designed with one each for art, science and music classes. The classrooms are all wired for network connections to the Internet. 

A centrally located resource center is divided into an area where students can access information from library books, and an area containing computer work stations where information can be accessed through the Internet or compact disks.

Wirth Middle School also has a multipurpose room and an adjacent gymnasium. The two areas are separated by an operable folding panel partition, which allows the areas to be combined for assemblies and other events. The multipurpose room serves as a cafeteria and features folding tables that can be stored within the wall recesses when not in use. The gymnasium accommodates a full basketball court and has basketball backstops that fold up against the roof structure when not in use.

The facility incorporates energy saving design features. Natural light is introduced into several rooms from windows and skylights. The skylights and several windows were fabricated from translucent insulated panels, which have a high insulating value. 

The building structure primarily consists of a concrete foundation and slab on grade and a concentrically braced structural steel frame. The structural steel frame was selected for its speed of construction and its economy. The exterior wall construction is composed of primarily brick veneer and metal stud backup walls. The color of the brick was carefully selected to blend with the adjoining brick building. 

The main challenge in the school's mechanical design was to provide the code-mandated quantities of outdoor air to the spaces. Additional requirements from the owner included air conditioning, individual classroom thermostats, and as much independence (mechanically) from the existing school as possible. In the final design, a separate rooftop 100% outdoor air system was provided that distributes neutral temperature, dehumidified outdoor air throughout the new addition. This same system uses heat exchangers with the building exhaust to temper the incoming air, reducing both cooling and heating cost of operation.

The cooling, heating, and outdoor air requirements of the cafeteria and gymnasium areas are large enough to justify stand-alone units for space conditioning. 

With the outdoor air handled separately, the design for conditioning the classrooms was greatly simplified. Six small mechanical rooms housing residential-type gas-fired/DX cooled equipment were distributed through the addition, with condensers located on the roof. In the interior rooms, air handlers with supplemental electric heat were installed above adjoining hallway ceilings. Ductwork and a ceiling plenum distribute the classroom supply air, while the remote equipment location keeps system noise to a minimum.

Electrically, the building is served from a pad-mounted transformer. This was necessary in order to separate it from the existing electrical distribution system. All of the major electrical equipment is contained in a centrally located mechanical room. Each individual classroom was designed to accommodate the continuing need for computers in the classrooms.

The north elevation features veneer and metal stud backup walls. The roof is a single-ply membrane roof system with sheet metal gutters and downspouts.

Exterior Walls - Entrances & Storefronts, Metal Windows: EFCO Corporation; Wood & Plastic Doors: Algoma Wood Door Company.
Roof - Skylights: Kalwall Corporation; EPDM: Carlisle Syn-Tec, Inc.
Floors - Vinyl: Armstrong World Industries, Inc.; Ceramic Tile: Dal-Tile; VCT: Azrock; Base: Johnsonite, Inc.
Interior Walls - Gypsum Board: U.S. Gypsum Company; Operable Partitions: Hufcor, Inc.; Coiling Doors: The Cookson Co.; Acoustical Ceilings: BPB Celotex; Toilet & Bath Accessories: American Specialties, Inc.; Paint: ICI Dulux Paints.

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