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  Crosspoint Lutheran School, Page 62Crosspoint Lutheran School
Architect 
Turner & Bair Architects, LLP 
333 Cypress Run, #350, Houston, TX 77094
www.turnerbair.com


Location: 
Katy, Texas
Total Square Feet: 41,526
Construction Period: Dec 1999 to Jul 2000

Construction Team
General Contractor: Empire Builders, Inc. - 16532 Park Row, Houston, TX 77084
Structural Engineer: BGA Engineers, Inc. - 4888 Langfield, #200, Houston, TX 77040
Electrical Engineer: Hargrave Electric Co., Inc. - 14021 Hargrave Road, Houston, TX 77070
Mechanical Engineer: L. Lovejoy Mechanical Contractors, Inc. - 6651 Signat Drive, Houston, TX 77041


The plans were on the table, bids had been solicited and the prospects were looking dim that Crosspoint Lutheran Church in Katy, Texas would be able to proceed with plans to construct a 40,000-square-foot school that would be operational by Fall 2000. With a firm budget of $2.6 million and estimates hovering close to $3 million, church officials turned to Empire Builders, Inc. for assistance in finding a way to bring the proposed building within the budget.

One of the first measures the Houston builder took was to form an alliance with Turner & Bair Architects, LLP, also of Houston. Together and independently, the builder and architect reviewed the existing architectural plans for the church. The ultimate conclusion was a functional, aesthetic facility that cost less. 

With a simplified design and applied value engineering techniques, the overall cost was cut considerably. This allowed the church to upgrade the sound/acoustical system and lay special flooring in the gymnasium/assembly area as well as expand site lighting in parking lots and along driveways.

Some of the major cost-saving solutions included revisions to the mechanical systems servicing the classrooms, and incorporating elements of a "minimalist" design defined by the simplification of the roofline, exposed structure, material selections and alignment of exterior walls.

Aesthetically, what began as a traditional, brick-faced structure resulted in a contemporary metal facade accented with Southwest Texas limestone. The inspiration for the design was derived from the unadorned metal residential dwellings that have become popular in several eclectic neighborhoods near downtown Houston. Building committee members determined that the switch to a contemporary design not only made the facility more cost-effective to build but fit the church's progressive attitude reflected by their motto "the church that rocks the entire family." Realizing that the metallic look will eventually date the building, a brick ledge was designed into the foundation that will allow the structure to be faced with stone or masonry if so desired in the future. Also, some visual devices such as presenting the metal siding in the horizontal orientation helped produce a more interesting texture, avoiding a warehouse look. 

The alignment of the exterior walls, achieved by taking out corners, reduced the need for expensive secondary structure and resulted in giving the interior a more open, expansive look. The utilization of exposed structure such as an open ceiling grid without acoustical tiles complemented the new architecture and also helped shave dollars off the final bill.

Redesigning a building, even when the redesign is focused on simplification issues, can be as consuming as creating a concept from scratch. Once the structure was given new life seemed to make the project achievable in terms of money, the design/construction team turned their attention to solving construction time issues that could threaten their ability to get the project completed within the desired time frame. Fast tracking is easier to achieve when money is readily available to pay overtime and other incentives. In this case, the team had to be more creative. For instance, underground plumbing was coordinated prior to having a complete set of architectural drawings.

The adage "if at first you don't succeed, try try again" is a life lesson that students at Crosspoint Lutheran School would certainly appreciate if they knew how persistence, compromise and hard work helped get their new school building constructed.

Manufacturers/Suppliers
Floors - VCT: Mannington, Azrock; Concrete Stain: Lithochrome® Chemstain™ by L.M. Scofield Company.


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