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  Fleming Elementary School, Page 29Fleming Elementary School
Ray bailey architects, Inc.
4100 South Shepherd, Houston, TX 77098

Freeport, Texas
Total Square Feet: 47,090
Construction Period: Jan 1999 to Aug 2000

Construction Team
General Contractor: Construction LTD - 1825 Upland, Houston, TX 77043
Structural Engineer: Conti Jumper Gardner Associates - 3949 Braxton, Houston, TX 77063
Electrical & Mechanical Engineer: MNM Engineering Associates, Inc. - 1027 Tulane, Houston, TX 77008

Fleming Elementary is the product of a new way of thinking about schools entitled "ABC Schools". The concept behind this program is that a series of carefully predesigned modules can be manipulated in a number of ways to provide a healthful, safe and pleasing facility suited to almost any school program.

The building was designed to replace an existing elementary school. It consists of 27 classrooms, a library, and administrative area, spaced around a straight-forward "L"-shaped common corridor. The existing cafeteria/auditorium/gymnasium was maintained at the east end of the new facility, along with the existing school kitchen.

This school was built using Pre-K and Kindergarten modules; 1st through 5th grade modules; a specialty classroom module; an administrative module; and a generously sized library.

A typical classroom module, or "cluster", is made up of four classrooms, each with an associate toilet room. The classrooms share a storage and a common entry area. The "commons" are sized to allow a group of eight computer stations, or may be used for small groups of students to work independently while still under the watchful eye of four teachers. Each common area has a raised roof with clerestory windows, and an ancillary storeroom.

Two clusters together with a mechanical system form a sort of "supercluster". Each of these double clusters can stand as an independent unit, and thus be added to the building as the school continues to grow.

Structurally, the building uses relatively straight-forward steel framing, composed of standard structural steel columns and beams supporting bar-joist framing at the roof. Each cluster is independently framed. The trickiest condition occurs at the corners of the classrooms, where the roof framing is cantilevered in order to provide unobstructed corner fenestration.

One of the benefits of the module system is a mechanical system that is repetitive and systematic. A single cooling tower services all of the mechanical rooms, but the mechanical installations for each cluster are similar in design and capacity.

The center corridor borrows structure, natural light, and conditioned air from clusters on either side. The bar joists spanning the corridor rest on beams at the classroom edges; clerestories above each commons lend light to the corridor, and conditioned air is supplied by the cluster"s mechanical rooms.

At the exterior, the clustering system is expressed through a rhythmic pattern of stair-stepped fenestration of an aluminum storefront, interrupted by a louvered wall and a lowered roof at each of the mechanical rooms. The roof used is a single-ply membrane roof by Duro-Last# Roofing, and the classroom modules are clad in brick.

The frontispiece of the school is the library. Located at the corner, addressing the street intersection, and inside, at the elbow of the building, the taller library is clad in glazed structural clay tile. The height, location, and commandingly blue structural glazed tile indicate the significance of that space to both the school and to the community.

DIV 07: Single-Ply Membrane Roof: Duro-Last® Roofing; Metal Panels: Berridge Manufacturing.
DIV 08: Entrances & Storefronts: Atlas.
DIV 09: Gypsum Board: United States Gypsum; Paint: ICI Paints.
DIV 10: Louvers: Ruskin Louvers.

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