The goal of the North Little Rock School District's Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) was ambitious: create world-class facilities, which would in turn create successful learning environments. Phase I was the construction of new schools in the Arkansas community. Phase II involved the renovation of seven existing buildings, including Seventh Street Elementary. Now complete, that school features insulated metal wall panels from Kingspan Insulated Panels on its exterior.
The CIP Starts With Speed
From an aesthetic standpoint, the CIP couldn’t have come at a better time for the Seventh Street Elementary School. Built in 1967, it had been decades since any major renovations had been made. The school looked outdated and did not provide the aesthetic appeal necessary to create a warm and inviting environment. A look for the school was sought that would be on par with the Gifted & Talented, Math Olympiad and NLRHS STARS educational programs offered by the Seventh Street Elementary administration. To ensure the project was completed on time and per the efficiency standards established for the project, Ralph Jones Sheet Metal Inc. suggested the use of Kingspan’s Optimo™ Embossed insulated metal panels for the project.
The timeline for completion of the project was tight. Phase II of the project was scheduled to begin during the 2013-2014 school year, and needed to be completed before the 2015-2016 school year. Gordon Jones, President of Ralph Jones Sheet Metal Inc., credited the easy installation of the Optimo panels as a major contributor to the project’s overall success.
Kingspan’s insulated metal panels are factory-built, single-component wall systems. This was crucial to the completion of the project, as the easy-to-install panels helped shave valuable installation time. The insulated metal panels came to the job site ready to be assembled, which minimized scheduling delays and the need for multiple trades. The use of the single-component Optimo Embossed wall system was projected to cut the construction schedule by up to 50 percent over conventional wall alternatives. Once approved for the project, 13,000 sq. ft. of 24"-wide, Surrey Beige Optimo Embossed panels were ordered to ensure the project was completed within an 11-month deadline.
State-Of-The-Art For Successful Learning
While build speed was important, a major focus of the project was aesthetics; the building needed to look state of the art. With the help of the Optimo Embossed panels, it does. The flat appearance with soft, non-directional stucco embossed texture wrapped around the custom corners and regal blue custom windows, provided the building with a much-needed makeover.
The insulated panels make the building significantly more energy efficient, which is not surprising given its age. Brad Kirkland, Regional Sales Manager for Kingspan Insulated Panels elaborated: “Energy efficiency was not a big focus back in the '60s when the Seventh Street Elementary was originally built. But with that said, this is where the Optimo Embossed insulated metal panels play a big part in the renovation of the school. Optimo Embossed panels are perfect for retrofit applications, and will give the school a modern and sleek building envelope.” The panels not only help upgrade the school’s appearance, but they also help elevate its energy efficiency.
The panel’s superior air- and weather-tightness would provide an immediate impact to the building’s thermal performance. The single-component, insulated panels help stop heat loss, and will continue to do so for the life of the building. The foam-to-foam contact provides an unbroken thermal shield against heat transfer, which equates to the best possible thermal envelope and tested R-values of 7.5 per inch. Now the Seventh Street Elementary School’s exterior will be capable of performing just as smoothly as the programs held within.
World Class Schools for World Class Students
If the results at the Seventh Street Elementary School are any indication of the success of the district's CIP, then the $265.4 million was money well spent. Seventh Street Elementary School was ranked number four in the Top 5 Most Improved Elementary Schools in Central Arkansas, based on Benchmark Math Achievement, and number five in the Top 5 Most Improved Elementary Schools in Central Arkansas, based on Benchmark Literacy Achievement. Equally important, the North Little Rock School District now has an elementary school built with sustainable features and filled with award-winning programs — all of which add up to a world-class school the entire community can be proud to call their own.