West Brazos Junior High School is a 90,000-square-foot facility housing seventh- and eighth-grade students. The interior organization allows light in and provides views out to the landscape, not only from classrooms, but also from every major space in the school. The building consists of a circulation spine connecting multiple learning/activity pod centers that feature COST PER SQ FT$108.53FEATURED IN2007 Educational InteriorsINTERIOR CATEGORYLibraries/Media Centers windows to allow light to pene-trate deep into the core spaces. Landscaped courtyards provide generous views, and classroom windows feature low-e glazing and inexpensive shading devices that double as light shelves, distributing light farther into the learning spaces. Letting an abundance of light in, yet shading those windows with inexpensive sun-shading devices, not only drastically reduces the amount of artificial lighting required, reducing energy demands and life-cycle costs, but also ensures that students and teachers can learn, work and play in an open, fun and liberating environment.
The site also includes a rainwater detention and natural filtration area as well as 48 acres of preserved native landscape. The green space adjacent to the school consists of native plants that require no irrigation. The landscape elements added to the site are native grass, bushes and trees that are drought-resistant and thrive in the coastal environment. The heat-island effect is reduced through the use of a highly reflective Energy Star roof, reducing external loads on the building. In addition, the heat island on non-roof surfaces will be reduced through the use of a reflectant material and partial shading from natural vegetation.
Once approved for certification, West Brazos Junior High School will be the first public junior-high facility in the state to be LEED-certified.