Walton Middle School
Positioned in the historic quarter of a north Florida town, this 150,000 square foot middle school provides a much needed educational facility. The school is sited adjacent to one of only two almost perfectly round spring fed lakes in the world. Besides the instrumental necessity of solving the large building program, the lake became a springboard for the conceptual underpinning of the project. The program required a secure exterior gathering space. It was determined that a centralized courtyard best facilitated this requirement. The character and scale of this space was intended to refer back to the lake. The state DOE mandated that two existing educational buildings could not be demolished and required their integration into the new school plant
The client requested a one story building and required that the building respect the scale and character of the adjacent historic district. Ninety percent of the students are either bused into the school from outlying rural areas or picked up and dropped off by parents.
The exterior materials consist of modular brick, both natural and whitewashed, and horizontal metal siding. Both of these products reflect cladding treatments on adjacent historical buildings, but have been reinterpreted into a more contemporary expression. A metal roof is used on the majority of the building with the exception of the porte-cochere which is roofed with darker diamond shaped shingles. This roof treatment can also be found on a number of older buildings in the historic district.
Downspout configurations were carefully considered in an effort to recall older wood knee braces that adorn numerous adjacent residential and commercial buildings in the historic quarter.
A centralized chilled water system, low flush toilets, LED lights, a lighting control system, “cool” roof, insulated Low E windows, and low maintenance materials all contribute to the building's energy efficiency.