Austin Middle School
Gignac & Associates, LLP
Posted: October 27, 2021 | Projects
Constructed on the same property as the campus it replaced, Austin Middle School was designed to provide a complete educational facility for grades 6, 7, and 8, with a capacity for 1,000 students.
Photo Courtesy of Greg Phelps Photography
Before construction, pre-design research was conducted to obtain a complete understanding of what the client visualized and expected from the new facility. This research included questionnaires filled out by stakeholders, administrators, board members, students, faculty, and staff.
Once these questionnaires were tabulated, concept designs were developed to get real-time feedback. The district stakeholders reviewed the concepts and chose their favorites at an on-site meeting. This pre-design process proved effective, as it opened up a dialogue between the design team, the clients, and the users helping to establish a clear understanding of the project goals and the end vision.
The 156,538-square-foot “Prototype” design chosen was previously utilized by Pharr San-Juan Alamo Independent School District, and stakeholders indicated that they preferred consistency with other schools in the district.
Three separate-grade classroom wings house standard classrooms, science classrooms, computer labs, a library, a cafeteria with a stage, a practice and spectator gym, music education spaces, sports fields, and support spaces. In addition, there are specialty classrooms, including art rooms, a special education and resource classroom, an ESL classroom, parent workrooms, and a teacher lounge and workroom.
Security is a big issue for schools, so the prototype design incorporates secure entry and security lighting, so that all visitors are identified before entering the building.
Although this school is a prototype design, it is still highly customized. The site orientation was optimized based on site area, sun direction, and accessibility and security. The interior spaces were developed closely with the district for this specific location, to establish the proper adjacencies and separations of educational programs.
The school utilizes native landscaping and regional exterior materials as part of sustainable design. The green design concepts include natural day- and high-efficiency lighting. A bus canopy provides shade from the hot Texas sun as part of the functional design.
The school was customized with unique colors, patterns, materials, and landscaping. These unique elements include whimsical terrazzo patterned floors, with the school mascot, a bruin, embedded in terrazzo; maroon and gold painted walls celebrating school spirit; and several colorful murals including the school mascot and positive, uplifting messages.
The finished Austin Middle School has its own identity, with a distinct entrance constructed of glazed block and a vibrant interior color scheme illuminated by an insulated skylight system. All of these elements foster a positive and spirited school environment.
Building Envelope: Interstate Brick, Pacific Coast Building Products, Christopher Stuart Cast Stone, Elgin Butler Brick
Roofing: Tremco, Berridge Manufacturing
Windows, Curtain Wall, Entrances & Storefronts: Kawneer
Interior: Georgia-Pacific DensGlass® Sheathing
Flooring: Daltile, Action, Armstrong Athletic Flooring
Architect & Cost Estimator
Gignac & Associates, LLP
222 E Van Buren Avenue, #102
Harlingen, TX 78504
Green, Rubiano & Associates, Inc.
1220 W. Harrison Avenue
Harlingen, TX 78550
Mechanical & Electrical Engineer
DBR Engineering, Inc.
200 S. 10th Street, #901
McAllen, TX 78501
D. Wilson Construction
1207 E. Pecan Boulevard
McAllen, TX 78501
3833 S. Staples Street, #N119
Corpus Christi, TX 78411
Date Bid: May 2013
Construction Period: May 2013 to Jun 2015
Total Square Feet: 156,538
Site: 30 acres.
Number of Buildings: One; 36 classrooms, 24 seating, 2 gyms totaling 804 seats.
Building Sizes: First floor, 156,538; total, 156,538 square feet.
Building Height: First floor, 40’; total, 40’.
Basic Construction Type: New/Load-Bearing CMU.
Foundation: Cast-in-place, slab-on-grade.
Exterior Walls: CMU, brick, curtain wall.
Roof: Membrane, metal.
Floors: Concrete, terrazzo.
Interior Walls: CMU, metal stud drywall.