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  Greater Gentilly High SchoolGreater Gentilly High School


VergesRome Architects, APAC
320 North Carrollton Avenue, #100, New Orleans, LA 70119

General Description

Location: New Orleans, Louisiana
Date Bid: July 2008 Construction Period: Aug 2008 to Dec 2009
Total Square Feet: 174,128 Site: 4.11 acres.
Number of Buildings: One. High School, 24 standard classrooms, 4 science labs, 6 fine art, 1 gymnasium. Seating capacity of 24 seats in standard classroom.
LEED® Silver Pending
Building Size: First floor, 47,294; second floor, 76,552; each
additional floor, 50,282; total, 174,128 feet.
Building Height: Garage, 22’; crawlspace, 4’; first floor, 18’; second floor, 15’; each additional floor, 18’; total, 63’6” at highest point in gym.
Basic Construction Type: New.
Foundation: Cast-in-place, reinforced concrete, post tension slab – second floor. Exterior Walls: CMU, brick, metal stud with brick veneer, metal panels, curtainwall. Roof: Built-up, metal. Floors: Concrete. Interior Walls: CMU, metal stud drywall.
Projected and/or modeled energy usage: KBTU/SF/Yr: 7,520,000 KBTU/169,698 square feet = $44.31 (S.F. not including wall thicknesses).

Construction Team

Educational Planner: Fanning/Howey Associates, Inc. - 9025 North River Road, #200, Indianapolis, IN 46240
Structural Engineer: Morphy Makofsky, Inc. - 336 North Jefferson Davis Parkway, New Orleans, LA 70119
Mechanical Engineer: Ritter Consulting Engineers Ltd. - 3009 20th Street, #D, Metairie, LA 70002
Electrical Engineer: Drake Engineering, LLC - 2783 Lapalco Boulevard, Harvey, LA 70058

Nearly five years after one of the nation's worst natural disasters and the devastating flooding that followed, the Recovery School District of New Orleans' newly completed Greater Gentilly High School at Lake Area School stands as a symbol of the community's tenacity, resilience, and vision for future generations. The new 174,000-square-foot building, which can accommodate up to 800 students, was designed on a demanding fast-track basis and opened to teachers and students in January 2010.

VergesRome Architects and Fanning Howey teamed up to design the new building, which is the first high-tech high school for the Recovery School District of New Orleans, with an academic focus on commercial arts, computer science, entertainment production, and education. A flexible floor plan with retractable walls and highly functional classrooms and laboratories will easily accommodate changes in the curriculum and instructional approaches. A state-of-the-art technology program, supported by Apple Computer and following the model of the Napa, California-based New-Tech Foundation, will support the school's innovative programs. There are over 1,000 data drops in the facility and every student desk is equipped with a computer.

Employing a streamlined "Quick Start" approach, through which the decision-making, procurement, and review processes were thoroughly expedited, the building was designed and built in just over two years.

The Quick Start initiative was introduced by the state-sponsored Louisiana Recovery School District to help jump-start school construction in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina, and in advance of the release of the city's School Facilities Master Plan. A three-day charrette involving several community groups helped launch the design effort for the new high school.

A difficult site also posed challenges to the design team. The 4.1-acre property had once housed a middle school structure that had been immersed in more than eight feet of water following Hurricane Katrina. The building was razed in order to accommodate the new high school, but several restrictions impeded use of the entire site, including the need to preserve several majestic live oaks on the property. The protection of these botanically and culturally significant specimens, along with the need to meet setback requirements, led the design team to devise a creative strategy for a disaster-resistant, multi-level structure on only 2.5 acres of property.

The three-level brick building features a wind- and water-resistant design and reflects meticulous mitigation analysis and planning to prepare for future storms and other potential disaster events. Most of the academic spaces and resources are housed on the two upper levels, with the ground level partially reserved for parking. The building has moisture-resistant finishes, wind-resistant galvanized steel roofing, and hurricane impact-resistant window systems. The high school is designed to LEED®-Silver certification standards, with a goal of reducing energy consumption by at least 30 percent. Two former outdoor swimming pools serve as rainwater cisterns, providing water for site irrigation and to supply the wet cooling tower.

Product Information
Metal Panels: Architectural Building Components - Wave Panel 16-inch, 22 gauge Kynar® coated Steel, Color Granite installed in both Vertical and Horizontal Applications.
Interior: Dietrich Framing, National Gypsum, Georgia Pacific, Armstrong, Chicago Metallic.
Roofing: Built-Up: Siplast; Metal: Architectural Building Components - 238T Symmetrical Structural Standing Seam Panel System in 22 gauge Kynar® coated Steel, Color Granite. 16-inch panel width with striations.
Flooring: Johnsonite, Armstrong, Shaw.
Lighting: Lithonia, Peerless.
Curtainwall, Window, Entrances & Storefronts: Kawneer
Elevator: Schindler

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