St. John's Parochial School

McLean, Virginia

The new gymnasium is a major addition to the existing elementary school. The school, built in the 1960s of frame construction, consists of two wings of 14 classrooms and 10 classrooms respectively.

Due to zoning restrictions, no additional floor area could be added without applying for a special exception and a major site-plan study. The solution was to demolish six ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONCOST PER SQ FT$91.61FEATURED IN2000 Educational InteriorsINTERIOR CATEGORYPhysical-Education Facilities/Recreation Centers in one of the wings and build a gym in its place. The gym was separated from the existing wood-frame classrooms with a two-hour wall, eliminating a suppression system. This was up to code because all existing classrooms exited directly to the outside.

The design features various shades of blue in the 12-foot-high tectum panels, starting at nine feet from the finish floor. This was not only for aesthetics, but also for acoustics. Along with foam insulation in the exterior masonry walls, the tectum panels added extra insulation value.

The plans consisted of a 50-foot by 96-foot gym with six basketball backboards, an office overlooking the gym, two handicapped-accessible toilets and a snack bar, and two renovated classrooms. The floor finish is point- elastic PVC sheet sports flooring. The roof is long-span steel joist with a metal acoustic ceiling, all painted white. The white ceiling and colorful panels create a bright and cheerful environment for students.