Metal paneling and roofing from Fabral intentionally mimic the corrugated metal often seen on agricultural buildings in the rural area.
Located on the north shore of Lake Travis and just 20 miles northwest of Austin, the town of Lago Vista serves as the great escape of Central Texas. Rich with picturesque views, a prosperous community, and abundant recreational activities, Lago Vista offers a lakeside lifestyle. This Austin suburb enjoys high home values and a substantial tax base due to recent development of retirement facilities, and second and vacation homes. With a booming art scene and the Texas tradition of Friday-night high school football, the community needed a high-school campus that better reflected its needs and values.
Architect Randy Fromberg of Fromberg Associates Ltd., Austin, specializes in working with rural school districts and has done so since 1981. Large school projects, with carefully scrutinized budgets and deadlines that feel the crunch of the impending school year, also have to project a degree of aesthetic value that is accepted and appreciated by its many constituents: the school district; parents, staff, and faculty; the students themselves; and the community at large. Fromberg is therefore tasked with delivering school projects that offer the most bang for the buck, often on very tight deadlines.
Additionally, since many affluent contributors to the local economy do not have school-aged children attending Lago Vista High School, the school had to include components that would appeal to and benefit the larger community.
“With school projects, we have to be strategic in where we place materials. They have to be durable where they will come in contact with people and can be damaged,” said Fromberg. “We will often place masonry low on the building and apply metal panels higher up. We may also use masonry to emphasize entryways or circulation points. This methodology provides visual cues as to how users enter a building and navigate through it. ”
To accommodate wear and tear and visual aesthetics, he strategically selected durable materials for Lago Vista that complement the local rural architectural language of Texas hill country. This meant stone and corrugated metal, a material common to agricultural buildings.
Large expanses of limestone and split-face concrete block blend with Fabral, Lancaster, PA, 26-gauge Fabrib corrugated metal paneling, a panel that offers bold design appeal. The metal panels intentionally mimic the corrugated metal often seen on agricultural buildings in the rural area. Fromberg specified the panels in gray to create a more galvanized, weatherized effect that is evident on older buildings. A PowerSeam roof from Fabral was site-formed to create the lengths needed to complete the building envelope. Together, the striking limestone and metal-panel combination is contextually natural yet modern in design.
Fromberg also brought the industrial theme indoors with exposed ductwork, pipelines, and structural elements. “It helped the project construction economy but, more importantly, allows the students to see what their new school is made of,” said Fromberg. “It’s an honest expression of the building structure.”
Texas Fifth Wall Roofing Systems, Austin, handled the installation of the metal panels. “It’s a fairly simple panel to install. The one thing we were concerned about was the performing-arts center,” said Scott Perry, chief estimator at Texas Fifth Wall. “The front of the building is radiused, and we were concerned that the panels would not follow the radius without creasing or deforming, which would not deliver the desired design aesthetic. The engineers at Fabral confirmed that the panel had enough flexibility to follow the curve. They said it would work and it did.”
Today, the students and the community of Lago Vista High School enjoy a 136,000-sq.-ft facility with a student capacity of 600 and a core capacity of 900. Its modern, industrial design blends in with the surrounding Texas hill country and extends throughout the campus. The world-class performing-arts center hosts school and community art events. The equally world-class football stadium and baseball fields, which draw weekly crowds from the surrounding region, have separate entrances and parking but are joined to the school through a connecting plaza. In all, Lago Vista High School blends seamlessly within the context of culture, community, and the rolling Texas landscape.