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Greenbrier Middle School a Model of Good Design

Jackson Brown King Palculict Architects of Little Rock is dedicated to delivering projects that meet their client’s goals and needs. Their client, the School District of Greenbrier, Arkansas wanted a new middle school that followed the sustainable practices of today.

Greenbrier Middle School radiates sustainable practices coupled with the cost savings from low-maintenance materials. Huge amounts of natural light, rooms equipped with state-of-the-art motion sensors, environmentally friendly and low maintenance stained concrete, and other materials were used to produce a facility that is a model of sustainability and cost savings.

“The top two items that come to mind about Greenbrier are the huge amounts of natural light in the school and the beauty of the polished concrete floors with their low maintenance,” said Randy Palculict, AIA of Jackson Brown King Palculict. “We used large windows in the class rooms and clerestories in the corridors for maximum natural light.” Studies show that students perform better in natural light compared to electric lighting.

“We coupled the natural lighting with motion sensors in every room for efficiency,” continued Palculict. Motion sensors not only save energy turning off the system but also prolong the life of the lighting system. The National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities reported in Lighting for Schools, Dec. 2001 that by reducing the use of the electric lights by 50 percent, their life span will be doubled and associated maintenance costs cut in half.

Many public spaces are now looking into and using concrete flooring instead of carpet and VCT. The environmentally friendly aspects of using concrete were put to use at Greenbrier. “The maintenance of the polished concrete floors at Greenbrier is easy – they just wet mop the floors,” explained Palculict. Bruce Carothers of American Concrete Concepts, Russellville, Ark. installer of the polished concrete at Greenbrier estimates the life of properly maintained polished concrete floors can last 20 years or more and the maintenance cost is between 28 to 40 cents per square foot – quite a savings for schools. “Polished concrete is a low-maintenance floor and uses a maintenance plan that uses no dangerous chemicals and doesn’t contribute to VOCs.” stated Carothers.

In addition to the natural lighting and polished concrete flooring Jackson Brown King Palculict Architects incorporated other building products for a greener and healthier school facility. GlasRoc® by CertainTeed, a high performance exterior sheathing contributes to mold resistance. Palculict likes working with CertainTeed, "They are helpful to architects, they provide technical support and have readily available information concerning the sustainability aspects of their products. Their products are high quality and priced competitively and we appreciate that." Other products used for the sustainable design was metal roofing by McElroy Metals to reflect solar radiant heat which can help save on cooling costs. Cementitious siding by James Hardie, uses raw materials that are low in toxicity and are longer lasting leading to reduced maintenance and repair costs. These and other products all team together for sustainability and cost savings for the School District. The Greenbrier School District and its students will reap the benefits of sound design by Jackson Brown King Palculict Architects for years to come.

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