By Eric Althoff
SAN MARCOS, Tex.—Design firm Perkins&Will has completed an expansion of Miller Middle School, located about halfway between Austin, the capital of Texas, and San Antonio.
Perkins & Will was tasked with renovating nearly 40,000 square feet of space from the old school, while adding 37,000 square feet of new space to Miller Middle School so it can meet its education goals science and arts students.
Both the renovations and the Miller Middle School addition were designed by the Austin office of Perkins&Will to be an effective educational space that allows students to be engaged in their learning, while promoting inclusion throughout the district. The design also features elements intended to encourage interaction, such as outdoor spaces that can be used as additional educational space during the Lone Star’s rather long warm season.
In addition, the library has a glazed prism that can also be seen from the outside. According to the design plans, this grand prism represents an amalgamation of the school’s goals to simultaneously broaden their study body’s exposure to the arts and sciences, with students not only able to appreciate its beauty but also its mathematical properties and geometric. Additionally, the library is meant to serve as a central hub for the school, so students and faculty use it as the “hub” of their learning environment – and from there walk to various classrooms. , performing arts spaces and laboratories.
As students exit the central area of the library, they are guided to their various classrooms with colorful accents in cyan, magenta, and yellow. The colors correspond to specific grade levels and thus help students find their bearings, especially as they learn to navigate this new space.
Perkins & Will worked at Miller Middle School with general contractor Webber Commercial, LLC, based in The Woodlands, Texas. Construction began in November 2019. Most work on the site was completed last fall, but contract work continued until March this year.
“Positioning the addition in front of the existing building created an opportunity to modulate the first impression and create a new architectural expression without affecting site circulation,” said Lynn Petermann, lead project architect and senior partner at Perkins&Will, in an emailed statement. at School Construction News. “The addition emphasizes the library becoming the central hub, creating a seamless flow of space to the surrounding classrooms, labs and performing arts space accessed from the upper level of the library.
“Taking inspiration from higher education institutions, the design team transformed the school to suit older students.”
Perkins & Will’s other educational works in Texas include Rodriguez Elementary School in San Marcos and the Katherine Johnson Technology Magnet Academy in DeSoto. Webber Commercial’s other Lone Star State school projects include work for the Liberty Independent School District.