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Freeport Middle School

This 150,000 square foot middle school is located in a rural north Florida county which was originally developed reflecting an extensive agrarian and fishing heritage. The most memorable Architecture in the area is reflected in the simplicity and straightforward nature of the small, non-descript structures that one finds scattered throughout the local environment. Covered footbridges, small country churches with traditional Pattern 105 drop siding, and tin roofed Victorian era houses all display a welcoming simplicity, devoid of fashion or current design trends. These are Archetypal structures that display a timelessness that transcends the current fashions of the day.

The two-story educational facility is organized along an interior “street”, the structure and nature of which is intended to recall the numerous steel and wooden pedestrian and vehicular bridges scattered throughout the immediate area. The media center is positioned as the educational heart of the facility with the gymnasium and cafetorium providing appropriate bookends. A site mandated retention pond is being developed as an educational feature where an eco-trail will ring the pond adjacent to a natural wetlands area populated with a wide variety of fauna, birds and other native wildlife.

The Florida Department of Education mandates strict regulations regarding net/gross efficiency factors as well as establishing maximum cost per student station numbers. As a result, public educational design in the state must prioritize how, and where, the architectural merits of the project occur.

Exterior wall materials include a combination of ground and split face CMU, utilizing local limestone shell aggregates, and horizontal metal siding configured in a profile that recalls the original Pattern 105 drop siding prevalent on many of the earlier buildings in the North Florida area. In addition, board and batten siding is utilized in select areas. This was the material most prominently utilized on the Carpenter Gothic country churches, again mostly occurring in the northern part of the state. North Florida does not belong to the Sarasota School……The quality of light between the northern and southern portions of the state is significantly different, as is its architectural heritage.

Standing seam metal roofs clad a combination of low-slung agrarian “saddle” roofs, shed roofs and hips, reinforcing the additive nature of much of the architecture found in the southern region of the United States and the northern part of Florida in particular. Triple silver coated Low-E glazing, low flush toilets, lighting controls and high efficiency mechanical systems work in tandem with a design that incorporates an abundance of natural light to incorporate time proven green strategies.

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