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  Juan N. Seguin Elementary School, Page 30rJuan N. Seguin Elementary School
Architect 
Ray Bailey Architects Inc. 
4100 South Shepherd, Houston, TX 77098
www.rbai.com


Location: 
Houston, Texas
Total Square Feet: 87,615
Construction Period: Jan 2001 to June 2002

Construction Team
General Contractor: Comex Corporation - 1250 Underwood, Deer Park, TX 77536
Structural Engineer: Scientech Inc. - 5701 Woodway, #200, Houston, TX 77057
Electrical & Mechanical Engineer: Burns Delatte McCoy Inc. - 320 Westcott, #100, Houston, TX 77007
Cost Estimator: Heery International, Inc. - 3900 Essex Lane, #575, Houston, TX 77027


The designers for the Juan N. Seguin Elementary School were determined to provide the most efficient plan possible, while at the same time keeping structural and building envelope costs to a minimum. These early decisions protected some important elements that are often at risk in cost-conscious schools, including natural light and gathering space.

The building consists of two simple longspan structures. Classrooms, administration, and support spaces are housed in a structure with spans of 40 to 50 feet; while the cafetorium, kitchen, and stage are in a taller space with spans of almost 60 feet. The compact circulation pattern, consisting of two parallel corridors with three shorter cross corridors, is clear, easily navigated, and readily monitored.

The classrooms, rather than being spread out in a “wing” pattern, are collected into pods. Within each pod, four or five classrooms cluster around a “commons,” which can be used as overflow or breakout space. Large enough for several classes to gather together, these common areas allow circulation space to do extra duty, greatly increasing the building’s useability without unduly increasing the square footage or the building footprint. 

At the client’s request, the colors in the classrooms were kept muted and neutral. At the commons, however, a lively tile pattern spills through storefront openings into the corner of each classroom. The exuberance of the tile pattern is echoed in the blocklike patterns of the exterior brickwork.

An important part of this building’s success is the use of natural light. Administrative spaces are held to the interior of the building, allowing as many classrooms as possible to hug the exterior wall and thereby have windows. The commons areas end in a glazed exterior wall, and are toplit by skylights. By using storefront between the classrooms and the commons areas, interior classrooms borrow natural light and a sense of spaciousness. 

Natural light is brought to interior spaces via a system of skylights. Building on the efficiencies inherent in longspan design, the skylight units sit on top of the longspan joists, rather than using conventional methods of interrupting the framing at each opening. The extra cost of creating gypsum board enclosures around each joist that penetrates an opening was well worth the savings generated by the simplicity and speed of steel erection. In particular, the building was able to be quickly dried in, resulting in a shorter overall construction schedule.

In another way, the Juan N. Seguin Elementary School was the beneficiary of good luck. The building, with its relatively low costs per square foot, also was bid during a short period of depressed building costs. The resulting bid was under the projected construction cost. This allowed for the additional amenities to be added during construction, including several age appropriate playgrounds.

While a model of efficiency, Juan H. Seguin Elementary is also a delight to the users. In the words of the principal: “Our school is absolutely gorgeous.” Students, faculty, and taxpayers all benefit from the early decision to emphasize efficiency, clarity and simplicity while accommodating the human need for well-lit, comfortable places to gather together and study.

Manufacturers/Suppliers
DIV 07: Built-Up: Johns Manville; Metal: Berridge Manufacturing; Steel: Nucor Vulcraft Group; Canopies: Avadek Walkway Covers.
DIV 08: Entrances & Storefronts: YKK; Glazing: PPG.
DIV 09: Partitions: Kwik Wall; Panels: Kemlite; VCT: Armstrong
 


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