School of Thought
“There are so many different entities that there are lots of phone calls and meetings,” Lucero says. She says she learned patience on the job.
The $101.3-million, 344,000-sq-ft school — its name still to be determined — is intended to serve 2,000 students. The seven-building school is expected to help foster small learning clusters that increase opportunities for student participation.
Though ground was broken in September 2009, rounds of bids for different parts of the project meant that the total price wasn’t set until January.
“We’re proud of the design,” says architect Benjamin Gardner, part of the design team at Dekker/Perich/Sabatini architects in Albuquerque. “We didn’t go out and grade a big flat spot that doesn’t respect natural contours. We used the topography instead of fighting against it. We strove to give students a feeling of pride in having a crisp, modern facility.”
The design maximizes views of the nearby Organ Mountains. The buildings, harmoniously scaled, should work together to provide sunshades and wind blocks for students at outdoor gathering spots, lessening the need to build and cool internal corridors.
“We wanted to have a ground-source heat pump to provide building cooling,” says architect design principal Bill Sabatini. “But lo and behold, [early drilling] found underground hot springs, so we needed a more conventional approach.”
Groundwater is usually at a constant temperature of approximately 55 degrees and could have been sent underground through a series of shafts to a network of pipes and then pumped to a cooling plant to provide efficient, cheap cooling, Sabatini says.
Instead, an ice chiller will provide cooling, says Abbas Shirian, vice president and project manager of Albuquerque-based consulting engineers Bridgers and Paxton. The chiller is energy efficient and easy to maintain and will make ice at night when electricity costs are lower, Shirian says.
During the day, the melting glycol-charged ice will suck heat from the building’s chilled water loop, allowing it to maintain a temperature of 42 degrees.
A cost-saver will be the campus’ variable-air-volume fans, says principal architect Gary Yabumoto of Las Cruces-headquartered ASA Architects. When less cooling or heating is needed, air flow through the system is automatically reduced.
The Kalwall translucent panel system will be used to promote daylighting where appropriate on the stucco-exterior of the steel-frame buildings, Yabumoto says.
“Kalwall is not as energy-efficient as a block wall, but it’s better than most standard window systems, even when double-pane,” Sabatini says. “That’s if you don’t need a view but want the light.”
The project is expected to use 18,464 cu yds of concrete, including retaining walls and buildings but not roadwork. Rebar tonnage is estimated at 489.2 tons and structural steel at 1,845 tons.
Key PlayersOwner: Las Cruces Public Schools
General Contractor: Gerald Martin
Architect: ASA Architects; Dekker/Perich/Sabatini
Engineers: D/P/S; Bohannan Huston; Bridgers & Paxton
Learn about other LCPS projects at www.lcps.k12.nm.us/Departments/Construction