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School’s architectural connection to the outdoors is topped with a metal roof

Indian Springs School’s recent Campus Master Plan identified the need to replace or modernize the many aging cinderblock classrooms that dated back to 1952 when the independent day and boarding school opened its doors. Located on 350 acres in the wooded hills south of Birmingham, Ala., the school enrolls 280 students in grades 8-12. Phase one of the three-phase “Springs Eternal” modernization plan consists of three new classroom buildings and a new administration building that together form several gathering areas, shape dynamic spaces and orient views toward the campus’ lake.

Design for the multi-phase update was provided via a collaborative partnership between ArchitectureWorks in Birmingham, and Lake|Flato Architects in San Antonio, with input from a wide range of constituents including board members, alumni, faculty, students and parents. The project is targeting LEED Silver certification.

Approximately 45,000 sq. ft. of Petersen’s Snap-Clad panels finished in PAC-CLAD Cool Color Zinc was installed on four new cypress-clad single-story buildings, all connected by covered walkways. The installation was completed by Quality Architectural Roofing in Birmingham. Roof monitors on the buildings provide daylighting to each classroom while a storefront system and high-performance glazing afford views along the walkways and to the campus beyond. Porch ceilings and overhangs are crafted of wood and are natural frames of the surrounding environment, enhancing the architectural theme of connection to the outdoors.

The design team sought to respect the school’s original structures’ simple forms and materials while opening the buildings to nature. “Our notion was that 21st-century schools could actually feel more like 19th-century schools,” said Greg Papay, Lake|Flato’s partner in charge, referring to the firm’s back-to-basics approach.

The general contractor on the project was BL Harbert International in Birmingham.