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  Gainesville High School, Media Center Addition & RenovationsGainesville High School, Media Center Addition & Renovations


Long & Associates Architects/Engineers, Inc.
4525 S. Manhattan Avenue, Tampa, FL 33611

General Description

Location: Gainesville, Florida
Date Bid: Mar 2007 Construction Period: Mar 2007 to Mar 2008
Total Square Feet: 15,489 Site: 1 acre.
Number of Buildings: One.
Building Size: First floor, 15,489; total, 15,489 square feet.
Building Height: First floor, 18’.
Basic Construction Type: Addition/Renovation/Type IIB.
Foundation: Cast-in-place, reinforced concrete, slab-on-grade. Exterior Walls: CMU, brick. Roof: Built-up. Floors: Concrete.
Interior Walls: CMU, metal stud drywall.

Construction Team

Structural, Mechanical & Electrical Engineer: Long & Associates Architects/Engineers, Inc. - 4525 S. Manhattan Avenue, Tampa, FL 33611
General Contractor: The Alexander Group, LLC - 707 S. W. 20th Street, Ocala, FL 34471
Civil Engineer: Dyer, Riddle, Mills & Precourt, Inc. - 4110 S. W. 34th Street, #8, Gainesville, FL 32608

The objective of this project was to convert a disjointed 1950s era building into a technologically advanced, state-of-the-art media center. The original structure featured low ceilings and few windows, creating a dark and outdated space ill suited to the users' needs. The renovation and addition of 4,500 square feet transformed the space into a light-filled library and gathering space with increased patronage.

A significant decision was made early in the design phase to relocate the existing entry, which faced the rear of a classroom building, to the opposite side of the library. The new entrance is now positioned on the campus mall, sharing frontage with the auditorium, administration, cafeteria, and gymnasium buildings. This move reasserts the library's importance on the campus. The repetition of classically proportioned bays and a cantilevered roof system engages the mall and creates a dynamic new exterior space. Brick columns offer an easily identifiable point of access. The brickwork gives the building a timeless aesthetic that relates to the rich palette of masonry found throughout the campus.

The new programmatic needs were seamlessly woven into the existing shell. The remodeled building provides equipment storage, office space, archival space, small group areas, computer stations, and a multimedia presentation area. A new circulation desk welcomes visitors. Time zone clocks create a backdrop, reminding students that knowledge and technology make them citizens of the world now more than ever. The desk location provides staff with a vantage point from which to monitor the entire media center, as well as a central location to greet and direct people.

Environmentally conscious decisions resulted in multiple energy and money saving features. By maintaining over 75% of the existing walls and columns, Long & Associates was able to reduce the cost, waste, and the need for new material production. Careful attention to the roofing design diminishes the heat island effect while glazing reduces solar heat gain. New North facing glazing provides abundant natural light, thus reducing the energy footprint of the building. During construction, the contractor instituted a pollution control plan that encompassed everything from site drainage to indoor air quality. The new addition keeps development density high and existing bus lines guarantee community connectivity.

North facing glazing in the new addition creates an open and airy space filled with natural light, inviting students to gather and study. Steel wide flange columns are left exposed but are softened with oak trim running parallel to the web. The oak trim matches the library furnishings, creating a cohesive environment. Exposed steel beams span 46 feet and cantilever 12 feet beyond the north wall. This blurs the perception of interior and exterior space. Brick cavity wall construction is an affordable solution that will withstand the region's harsh climate.  

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