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Corners and entryway of Tennessee’s largest high school accented with metal

When students first entered the doors of Collierville High School in Collierville, Tenn., in August 2018, the fact that they’d made a big step up in quality from their previous facility must have been apparent to everyone. The $94 million high school is now the state’s biggest, at 460,000 sq. ft. The exterior is equally impressive, featuring a digital-age take on classic school architecture that includes a nod to the past in its use of stone and masonry along with a more contemporary use of metal wall panels to highlight corners and other architectural features – especially the monumentally scaled, double-height entryway.

The data analysis firm Stacker recently named Collierville Schools as Tennessee’s best district, so maybe it’s not surprising this new high school is so amenity-rich. Features include a 1,000-seat auditorium, eight science labs, four computer labs, a fine arts complex and educational spaces focused on advanced manufacturing and agriculture. One thing you won’t find, though, are hallway lockers. Students are issued laptops every year and almost all textbooks are digital, so designers with the firms of Fleming Architects and Renaissance Group, both based in nearby Memphis, saw no need for them.

The school’s exterior design uses a classic materials palette of stone cladding as a base, topped by masonry. But where another band of stone might have been used at the roofline, designers substituted metal wall panels in charcoal and silver to call out the corners and entry, along with the space between first and second floor windows throughout the building’s four wings.

Installation pros with Fulton, Miss.-based F. L. Crane & Son suggested Petersen as the supplier for the metal panels. In all, they specified 20,000 sq. ft. of the company’s PAC-CLAD Flush panels in the Charcoal finish and an additional 16,000 sq. ft. in silver.