The U.S. Green Building Council just announced that Muller Road Middle School has earned LEED for Schools Certification. Quackenbush Architects + Planners designed the 176,000 square foot school for Richland School District Two. It has also received Merit Awards from the South Carolina Chapter of the American Institute of Architects and from the South Carolina Chapter of the Council of Educational Facility Planners International.
Located in the rapidly growing Blythewood area, the new middle school is designed for an initial population of 1050 students. The 17-acre site includes play fields, a planned area for a future center magnet program, and an ample amount of open green space. Preferential parking is given to carpools and low-emitting vehicles, and bicycle infrastructure is also provided.
The building is organized around a large courtyard providing outdoor learning and teaching spaces via a pavilion and landscaped areas. Three academic “houses” accommodate flexible, collaborative central spaces to provide diversity of learning options. Within each house are larger flexible classrooms that open via large folding glass doors into two story collaboration areas full of daylight from the clerestory above. Roof overhangs are carefully designed and sunshades provided to control the light entering the building.
The building design incorporates efficient mechanical and plumbing systems projected to save 18% more energy and nearly 23% more potable water than the calculated baseline. The building materials include 20% recycled content and 25% locally sourced materials, with the exterior of the building combining glass, metal panels, and local brick in a timeless but modern composition. Nearly 86% of the waste generated in the construction of the building was recycled rather than sent to a landfill.
The project is designed in collaboration with the Perkins + Will K-12 Studio, and was built by LeChase Construction Services with Cumming as Construction Manager.