High-tech middle school features Rockfon ceilings for vibrant student hub
Inspired by high-tech, highly collaborative spaces, Manor New Tech Middle School relies on Rockfon Islands for sound absorption, light reflection and modern aesthetics. Manor Independent School District (ISD) supports more than 9,000 students and a growing community in Central Texas with residences in Austin, Elgin and Manor. A home for the high-tech industry, Samsung, Applied Materials, Dell and Freescale Semiconductors are all in close proximity. Serving both the community and up to 900 students in grades 6 through 8, Manor ISD recently opened a 100,000-square-foot new technology middle school.
Designed by Stantec, the three-story educational facility reflects the contemporary, high-tech workplaces of the area. Inspired by these collaborative environments, Manor New Tech Middle School features an open and transparent floor plan organized around a vibrant, central gathering space.
Optimizing acoustic performance
Within Manor New Tech Middle School's hub of activity, the noise of escalating voices could become overwhelming. To help control the build-up of noise, Stantec selected white, frameless, acoustic, stone wool Rockfon Island products.
"When the students come together in this multi-functional meeting spot, our sound-absorbing Rockfon Islands help increase speech intelligibility and mitigate the 'Lombard effect,' where people talk louder and louder to make themselves heard when trying to talk in noisy environments," explained Rockfon's acoustic specialist, Gary Madaras, Ph.D., ASA, INCE, Assoc. AIA.
Positioned for optimized acoustic performance and visual interest, Standard Drywall installed more than 5,000 square feet of Rockfon Island direct-mount panels in both 4-by-4 and 4-by-8 foot sizes as provided by Action Gypsum. The modular format and lightweight materials contributed to a smooth and speedy installation. Managed by Joeris General Contractors, the project was completed on schedule for the 2017-18 academic year.
High tech and high light reflectance
The smooth, white surface of Rockfon Island products contributes to the middle school's high-end, high-tech aesthetic, as well as the high light reflectance desired for this project. Stantec noted, "Building orientation and skylights bring daylight into all academic and lab spaces for optimal student well-being while also reducing energy use."
Further contributing to the building's sustainability and environmental goals, Rockfon Island products contain recycled content. Rockfon's extensive portfolio of stone wool acoustic ceiling solutions has earned UL Environment's GREENGUARD Gold Certification for low-emitting products. These environmental attributes are recognized by such programs as the U.S. and Canadian Green Building Councils' LEED Rating Systems, BREEAM International, The WELL Building Standard, Green Globes and the Collaborative for High Performance Schools (CHPS).
Manor New Tech Middle School not only is driven by a new technology model, but also by a project-based learning (PBL) model. "The school is designed around the life of a project, flowing from project launch and research, to workshops and assessments, to production and presentation," described Stantec. "The variety of flexible spaces and furnishings promotes instructional adaptability and learning at different scales, delivering a wide range of educational opportunities."
Michael Brooks, Manor ISD's construction and facilities director, added, "This is unique, not only to Manor; this is unique nationwide. As you look around…we have this innovative concept. School is not just four walls and a ceiling. It is all of the kids, all of the components that make up the environment."
Stantec concluded, "The result? A creative, connected space where students have all the tools they need to thrive in the digital world."
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