Northside High School, Fine Arts Expansion

Fort Smith, Arkansas

Associated Firms: Myers - Beatty Engineering, PLLC (Structural Engineering), HSA Engineering Consulting Services, Inc. (Mechanical / Electrical Engineering)

Because of rapidly growing interest in chorus, orchestra and band, the Fort Smith School District saw a need to construct a 25,000-square-foot facility on the periphery of its campus. Instead, the ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONCAPACITY450COST PER SQ FT$230.00FEATURED IN2015 Architectural PortfolioSUB CATEGORYRenovation chose a more radical but student-friendly solution—adding 13,500 square feet of new rehearsal rooms, practice rooms, equipment storage and library space above the existing 10,750-square-foot facility.

A 24-foot-deep wall truss system supporting 72-inch-deep floor and roof trusses spanning 100 feet above the existing one-story brick facility enabled the music department to remain in direct proximity to the stadium, indoor activities/practice center and auditorium.

The interior campus location and the need for the existing building to remain operational led to a construction solution that involved limited contact with the ground and accomplished much of the construction work from above.

Limited construction space and structural considerations dictated lightweight materials. Additionally, the requirement for three contiguous rehearsal rooms resulted in several challenging, sophisticated acoustical separations.

The light, contemporary form and skin of the expansion is a reflection of the long span design and stands in playful contrast to the traditional red brick campus. A clean, simple profile conceals a sophisticated skeleton and high-performance interior.