Owego Elementary School, Owego, N.Y.

Photo: Guy Cali AssociatesHighland Associates Ltd. designed three buildings for Owego Apalachin Central School District to replace four buildings damaged by Tropical Storm Lee in 2011. The plan included rebuilding Owego Elementary School in its original location in Owego, N.Y.

Highland Associates investigated several options to ensure the building met or exceeded FEMA’s flood-proofing guidelines. Considerations included placing the building on stilts and implementation of flood walls to retain the original location. The building was placed on compacted fill and the grade of the site was elevated to bring the school above flood level.

There were four primary project goals for Owego Elementary School related to the environment, learning, health and wellness, and community. Highland Associates was tasked with creating a design for an environment where students could feel safe, comfortable and develop a sense of place, and had engaging spaces throughout the building to extend learning beyond the typical classroom. The project was designed to maximize daylighting to increase student productivity and improve indoor air quality. Additionally, the school was designed to serve as a symbol of the community’s healing and resilience.

The school is organized into clusters of classrooms. Highland Associates avoided long, tunnel-like corridors, instead using corridors that are bent and broken, creating intermittent learning spaces filled with natural daylight and views of the outdoors. The majority of occupied spaces have unobstructed views of the outdoors.

Highland Associates designed the main corridor with sculptural ceiling panels to resemble ripples and waves on water, and represent the project’s origin. A copper color canopy identifies the main entrance. Highland Associates incorporated flat, insulated metal panels at the main entrance and classrooms for a modern feel.

Metal was specified to complement natural bluestone, a cladding material common in the area. The colors of the metal panels used
(dark bronze, blue and copper) are all colors that occur in bluestone. A contrast between flat metal panels and ribbed metal panels highlights a two-story cant in the exterior walls of the classrooms. The project’s materials give the design a modern aesthetic and complement surrounding architecture.

Charles F. Evans Co. installed six of CENTRIA’s metal panels for the project: CS-620 metal wall panels in Dark Bronze, IW-13A metal fascia panels in Granite, IW-10A metal soffit panels in White, Formawall 2-inch insulated metal wall panels in Custom Copper on exterior walls and at the main entrance canopy, Formawall 2-inch insulated metal wall panels in Custom Blue and MetalWrap insulated composite backup panels. Additionally, Rollison Construction Sales installed Kingspan Insulated Panels Inc.’s insulated metal roof panels in a custom color that matches CENTRIA’s Granite.

Schenectady Steel Co. Inc. fabricated and installed steel framing for the project. Miscellaneous Iron Works Inc. fabricated some loose steel components for the masonry walls, and fabricated and installed decorative and aluminum railings.

Highland Associates connected the design to the community in multiple ways including the use of horizontal metal panels on the exterior in a profile that resembles residential siding. Additionally, sloped metal panel roofing resembles the sloped roofs in the surrounding neighborhood. The 124,000-square-foot project was designed to attain LEED Silver certification and was completed in May 2016.

Owner: Owego Apalachin Central School District, Owego, N.Y.
Architect: Highland Associates Ltd., Clarks Summit, Pa.,
General contractor: Daniel J Lynch Inc., Endwell, N.Y., (607) 748-3342
Installers: Charles F. Evans Co., Elmira, N.Y.,, and Rollison Construction Sales, Rochester, N.Y.
Fabricators/installers: Schenectady Steel Co. Inc., Schenectady, N.Y.,, and Miscellaneous Iron Works Inc., Schenectady,
Metal fascia/soffit/wall panels: CENTRIA, Moon Township, Pa.,
Metal roof panels: Kingspan Insulated Panels Inc., Deland, Fla.,

Photo: Guy Cali Associates