The Albatross Around the Neck of Our School

Okay, so I get that LOTS of people dislike the horizontal steel siding on our new Technology Center. And maybe “albatross around the neck of our school” is a bit strong. Trust me, no-one has spent more time than me looking at that building and the steel siding. Without getting into a lot of detail about how capital projects work and how much latitude I do (or do not) have to make changes at this late stage in the game, suffice it to say any change would have to be relatively minor. All of the design decisions were made back in 2006-2007 and were State Ed approved; the design intent was to have a state of the art, industrial looking tech center.

The architect achieved this goal, right? The problem for most of our community members, and for me, is that it doesn’t compliment the look of our existing building. I’ve always said that this is the most beautiful school ANYWHERE. It truly is and we take great pride in that fact.

Let me just say also that it is a beautiful addition in every other way. The interior spaces for our Agriculture and Technology programs are gorgeous and a HUGE improvement over our current spaces. Despite the confusion in the community, the addition was never meant to be a middle school—the sixth grade was simply going to inhabit the renovated space vacated by the Ag and Tech programs. Since we made the decision to keep sixth grade in the elementary school, now that space will be a high school office, ISS/OSS room, and Adaptive PE/Wrestling Room.

So what do I do about the steel? Do we stick with it, as is? Do we consider painting it? Do we modify or change portions of it? Changing all of it is simply out of the question, it’s too costly and in my mind would just be throwing good money after bad. Painting it seems like a bad idea considering that it’s a maintenance free product now, why paint it and deal with that issue every 7-8 years?

So I’m left contemplating a change to just the steel surrounding the lower half of the addition (the shorter portion). What if we change just the three lower sides to a product called “drivet”  that looks like stucco to me? Make it match the entrance way to the high school where it says “Randolph Jr. – Sr. High School”?

Or leave it alone? Come on Randolph Readers, I know you’re out there reading, even though you seldom comment. This blog is intended for a two-way conversation and I need some help with this decision. Comment below and tell me what you think!

  1. Hi Mrs. Moritz: As a resident of Randolph as well as an employee I can tell you that I have not heard one positive comment about the look of the new addition. I understand you had nothing to do with the design, but if there’s anyway you can change it to look more like our beautiful existing school buildings I’m sure there would be many happy people in Randolph.

  2. Hi Kim.

    Checking in on your blog, and Yikes! The contrast between the two pictures couldn’t be clearer. It’s a dilemma — especially in our attempts to be conscious of the impact of our work on local property taxes.

    I’m not a resident of your community, but from a colleague superintendent’s perspective, I’d get a drawing of proposed changes made up, and put the issue to voters as a separate proposition in your next capital project vote.

  3. Hi Kim,

    I read of all your blog posts and usually comment to myself or write you privately, but I decided to dip my toe in and post here this time! 🙂

    I, personally, do not like the way the new building looks. I feel it completely detracts from the existing buildings and is unfortunately the first part of our high school that jumps out at people when coming up the entrance. I was, and still am, shocked every time I look at it. Now, perhaps the intention was to build a futuristic modern technological monstrosity (goal more than achieved), however it is sorely out of place compared to the existing architecture on our campus.

    I would gladly like to see the metal siding covered with ANYTHING to try and make it “blend” with the surroundings.

    Mary Kay

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