"Natural light is crucial for those two areas," says design team member Mark Welch, AIA, of OakPark Architects, LLC, of West Hartford.
The firm created a Media Center with math and reading rooms, the computer lab, teachers prep and bookbinding rooms as well as the book stacks and reference areas found in a traditional school library."We wrapped the space with a translucent clerestory.The Kalwall panels bathe the Media Center in gentle, shadowless daylight that makes reading easier and cuts the glare off computer screens."
For the two art rooms at the end of the Tootin' Hills addition, Welch
cue from the Media Center and employed a similar strategy."Kalwall's glare-free light is ideal for art activities and the custom-designed display case between the rooms that features the students' work."
As a year-round facility, the energy efficiency of the addition's HVAC systems was another factor in selecting Kalwall.During the manufacturing process, the panels can be infilled with various densities of specialized translucent insulation, greatly reducing heating and air conditioning costs.The HVAC problems inherent with glass are eliminated as the system controls solar heat transmission.
"Schools are a huge expense for any community's taxpayers, yet they need to last a long time under very hard use," adds Welch
."The Media Center is used by Tootin' Hills students as well as groups outside of the school.
With the inclusion of natural daylight in Tootin' Hills'
design, students benefit from a better quality of learning, a less tangible, too-often overlooked advantage that is nonetheless central to a school's mission.Along with optimal indoor air quality and temperature, many studies confirm natural daylight contributes to improved student health as well as test scores.
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