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  West Fairmont Middle School


Omni Associates-Architects
1543 Fairmont Avenue, #201, Fairmont, WV 26554

General Description

Location: Fairmont, West Virginia
Date Bid: Apr 2005
Construction Period: July 2005 to Jan 2007
Total Square Feet: 96,340 Site: 8 acres.
Number of Buildings: One.
Building Size: First floor, 72,022; second floor, 24,318; total, 96,340 square feet.
Building Height: First floor, 16’; second floor, 14’; total, 30’.
Basic Construction Type: New/IIB/Structural Steel (10%); CMU (90%).
Foundation: Cast-in-place, reinforced, slab-on-grade.
Exterior Walls: CMU, brick. Roof: Metal, membrane. Floors: Concrete. Interior Walls: CMU (95%); metal stud drywall (5%).

Construction Team

Structural Engineer: Stroud, Pence and Associates, Ltd. - 5032 Rouse Drive, #200, Virginia Beach, VA 23462
General Contractor: Yarborough Development, Inc. - 1700 Washington Boulevard, Port Vue, PA 15133
Electrical & Mechanical Engineer: Tower Engineering - 115 Evergreen Heights Drive, #400, Pittsburgh, PA 15229
Cost Estimator: Winfield H. Strock Consulting Services - 3410 Chesterfield Avenue, Charleston, WV 25304

West Fairmont Middle School, page 34

West Fairmont Middle School was designed and constructed to replace two outdated and essentially unusable facilities: Dunbar Middle School, which served fifth and sixth grade students, and Miller Junior High School, which served seventh and eighth grade students.

The site chosen for the new school was a dilapidated industrial site that presented unique challenges including extensive environmental cleanup and an unknown underground water source which dictated the use of a grade beam foundation system. The remnants of an existing coal seam was also removed and sold to help offset the cost of the revitalization of the site.

The site’s topography did not lend itself well to the construction of a school. It was located in an older, primarily residential neighborhood with small, narrow streets that limited traffic flow and presented a special challenge for bus transportation. Omni Associates – Architects created a segregated entrance designated specifically for busses in order to keep the flow of traffic at the main entrance moving expeditiously for teachers and parents. Both entrances empty into a common area of the school and are equipped with call buttons and security cameras.

The layout of the building enabled the administration to move to a true middle school curriculum while still segregating the fifth and sixth grades from the developmentally disparate seventh and eight grades. Distinct two-story Dunbar and Miller wings give each grade level its own suite consisting of six classrooms, laboratory/project rooms, special education rooms, and faculty use areas.

Central to the interior of the school are the administrative offices nearest the main entrance and the media center, which incorporates the use of clear story in order to maximize the amount of natural light in the space. Indirect lighting is employed throughout the school. Shared classrooms include a teleconferencing classroom used for outreach education, an art room, and a consumer sciences classroom. Other shared spaces include band and choral rooms, a cafeteria, and a gymnasium.

The exterior of the building has a modern aspect which reflects the new technology incorporated into the infrastructure of the building yet still echoes the residential character of the surrounding neighborhood.

Omni was able to mitigate rising construction costs through value engineering and additive alternates which helped ensure that construction bids came in under budget. The project was completed on time and under budget and ultimately met the needs and desires of the school’s faculty, staff, and students.

Dr. James Phares, Superintendent of Marion County Schools, West Virginia Association of School Adminstrators'
“Superintendent of the Year,” and nominee for the national award, has called West Fairmont Middle School “the template for the twenty-first century school.”

Since its opening in 2007, the school has seen an increase in enrollment as students seek to take advantage of additions to the curriculum made possible by the new facility’s layout and technology. As an additional benefit to the community, the school is now serving as a catalyst for redevelopment in a neglected community within the City of Fairmont.    


DIV. 3: Brick: The Belden Brick Company.
DIV. 7: EPDM: Carlisle.
DIV. 8: Windows: Traco. Entrances & Storefronts: YKK AP America.
DIV. 9: Flooring: AZROCK.
DIV. 26: Lighting: Litecontrol, Daybrite.

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