A well-designed school should foster a functional learning and work environment for students and staff while being a positive design element for the community. Amon Creek Elementary is the latest addition to the Kennewick School District in Richland,
WA. The design team at MMEC Architecture, Spokane, WA, turned to Citadel Architectural Products' Envelope
2000® RainScreen (RS) metal composite material (MCM) panels to create an inviting school with defined spaces.
"We wanted to design a two-story building that is situated in the center of a new housing development, without looking out of place or too large," says Heidi Pierce, AIA, principal architect with the firm. "A big factor in the design of
this school, as well as all KSD schools, is that the school should be welcoming to not only students and staff but also to the community."
The design for this school was based on the Westgate Elementary plan, which opened in 2017 and also used metal wall panels. Amon Creek Elementary, however, needed to be about 15,000 square feet larger than the original plan to accommodate more students
and staff. The result is a larger gym and learning lab, more restrooms and eight additional classrooms. The classrooms were thoughtfully laid out in two separate wings that are clearly defined.
Pierce notes: "We wanted to break up the classroom wings, so the building wasn’t one long monolithic face on the exterior. The color of the metal panels help divide the wings into smaller, less overpowering elements."
Leslie & Campbell, Union Gap, WA, began the install with 20-gauge furring channels placed horizontally over the exterior wall insulation and into the wall studs. Then the same 20-gauge furring channels were used to interconnect the grid, which mirrored
the panel sizing. Citadel extrusions were attached to the furring channels, and from there, the panels were locked into the system. Leslie & Campbell’s crew installed 13,000 square feet of the Envelope 2000 RS system in Colonial Red and
Sandstone. The panels were sold by Pacific Architectural Products, Clackamas, OR.
Envelope 2000 RS consists of 4-mm-thick MCM panels with a durable, 0.105-inch thermoset phenolic resin core that provides an ultra-smooth substrate. The RS system allows incidental moisture to enter and then exit through weepholes.
“We have been working with Citadel for several years and have completed quite a few projects with them,” says Brandon Campbell, sheet metal estimator with Leslie & Campbell. “They are a pleasure to work with, and we like that they
get the order in and processed in a timely manner.”
In addition to providing a pop of color to a neutral palette, metal was selected because it is a durable material with low maintenance that is easy to install.
"My favorite design element is the glass storefront system bordered by the red metal panels that fronts the small group spaces inside," Pierce says. "The change in materials and recesses in this face give the building such interest."
As the largest school in the district, the 38-classroom school is 76,664 square feet. It opened in August 2018 with space for today and even a few empty classrooms for future student and curriculum expansions.