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Decatur Middle School Expansion

Posted: August 28, 2019 | Projects

The old 1959 Decatur, Arkansas Elementary School held a special sentiment to many residents who had attended, so extraordinary attention was placed on its renovation and conversion to Decatur Middle School.

Photo Courtesy of John Mack & Cyndie Jacks/JKJ Architects


Located prominently on Arkansas State Highway 102 (the main road through town), the new gymnasium, with its textured block and brick and new lighted signage, provides a WOW factor as soon as you enter the Decatur city limits. The unique design and renovations made this project a standout that the community of Decatur can be proud of, both now and in the future.

The electrical service entry was updated and brought up to current NEC code. New roof areas have a minimum 1/4″ per foot slope drop for positive drainage, and the metal walls and roof panels serve as an efficient material to enclose the upper portion of the building. Existing floor elevations were raised and adjusted to accommodate ADA requirements. The oldest classrooms in the original building were demolished due to asbestos hazards, which opened up room for a new gymnasium. 

Roof insulation was added to the addition, allowing the use of a more economical wet fire sprinkler system. Old batt insulation was removed to provide access to computer cables. The decision to move the Middle School to this location allowed for additional classroom space to accommodate growth. In addition, both dressing rooms in the gym and one storage room (which were in the middle of the building with no exterior windows), received a concrete roof to make a safer area for students to go to during a storm.

It was an exciting time, as a steel skeleton went up quickly for the new gym, and a floating wood floor with cushioned pad and moisture barrier were installed. The blue and gold school colors were used on bleachers, which include 273 seats and five ADA spaces. New lighted scoreboards were provided, one on each end of the gymnasium, which is flooded with natural light from the windows. Also included were basketball goals and a removable net and poles for volleyball competitions. 

The new gym will serve as a home for a variety of activities and events, including physical education classes, assemblies, graduation ceremonies and more.

The school colors help to unify otherwise disparate sections of the school such as the girl’s toilet room, the reception area, and the nurses’ station area.

Also included in the new design was a private school board entry area for school board sessions, which doubles as a computer classroom, and an area for efficient and safe pick up and drop off of students.

Building Envelope: Alliance Steel Building Systems

Roofing: Alliance Steel Building Systems, Firestone

Windows, Entrances & Storefronts: Kawneer

Flooring: Armstrong, Patcraft

Lighting: Williams, Lithonia, GE


JKJ Architects
116B W. Walnut Street
Rogers, AR 72756

Structural Engineer
JLA Engineers
213 W. Monroe Avenue, #J
Lowell, AR 72745

Mechanical & Electrical Engineer
Advanced Consulting Engineers, Inc.
132 Kelly Drive
Rogers, AR 72756

Civil Engineer
Earthplan Design Alternative
134 W. Emma Avenue
Springdale, AR 72764

General Contractor & Cost Estimator
Kinco Constructors
3803 Kelly Avenue
Springdale, AR 72762

Date Bid: Nov 2017

Construction Period: Feb 2018 to Nov 2018

Total Square Feet: 31,295

Site: 64 acres.

Number of Buildings: Four; 11 classrooms, seating 275; 1 gymnasium, seating 278.

Building Sizes: First floor, 31,295; total, 31,295 square feet.

Building Height: First floor, 30′6″; total, 30′6″.

Basic Construction Type: Addition/Renovation.

Foundation: Cast-in-place, reinforced concrete, slab-on-grade.

Exterior Walls: CMU, brick, curtain wall.

Roof: Membrane, metal.

Floors: Concrete.

Interior Walls: CMU, metal stud drywall.