Gulf Shores Elementary School STEAM Addition

The new Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (STEAM) Collaborative Learning Center at Gulf Shores Elementary School provides a student-centered, experienced-based learning atmosphere by integrating low- and high-tech teaching styles into the educational philosophy. Every space in the center was designed to be utilized for learning purposes – even the hallways!

    • Location:  Gulf Shores, AL
    • Project Size: 12,300 SF
    • Cost:  $4,800,000
    • Facility Type: K-12 Schools
    • Owner: Gulf Shores School District
    • Services:  Electrical / Telecommunications, Fire Alarm and Mechanical/ Plumbing Engineer

The six classrooms were designed with bright colors, natural daylight and the ability to open to the corridor for collaboration between classes. The large double height corridor is an active learning environment with small group nooks, marker board walls and fun collaborative furniture. Continuing the theme of open learning, the large STEAM lab has double-height ceilings, operable walls and movable furniture all of which allow it to be reconfigured dependent on teacher and curriculum needs. The labs open to a learning courtyard that features a giant floor map of the regional coastline, canopies, outdoor furniture and rainwater collection system.

Heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) systems included air-cooled, variable refrigerant flow (VRF) systems. VRF systems were heat recovery type with simultaneous heating and cooling for thermal zones with varying loads. Thermal zones were conditioned by ducted fan coil units. Outside air was decoupled from temperature-control units for increased energy efficiency and improved control of building pressurization and ventilation. Four 100% outside air units (OAUs) operate in tandem with fixed-plate energy recovery ventilators to recover energy from exhaust airstreams. VRF system controls were integrated with the school’s building automation system for remote monitoring and control.

Plumbing systems consisted of sanitary waste and vent, domestic cold water, and domestic hot water. Automatic faucets and flush valves were installed and hardwired with electrical power. Plumbing fixtures for classroom sinks, lab sinks, and restrooms were coordinated with the architect and consistent with the school’s standards. Domestic hot water is provided by a central electric storage water heater; a building HW circulation pump is installed to minimize wait time for hot water at fixtures.

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