General Marshall Middle School

Austin, Texas

Vertical school focused on the whole student

The design for the three-story General Marshall Middle School fits a comprehensive campus, including a gymnasium, tennis courts and sports fields, on an odd-shaped 10-acre site that was once the runway for the municipal airport. Built vertically around a central courtyard, the 130,000-square-foot, LEED Gold campus takes full advantage of the site and doubles as a community hub, with accessible facilities and connections to the local transit station.

Part of the 700-acre new urbanist Mueller District, the school was developed in an integrated design-build process in partnership with Joeris General Contractors, the district and the community. The campus serves 800 students, with a focus on collaborative, flexible learning spaces, recognizing that learning happens everywhere. Activated outdoor spaces, collaborative breakout areas and technology-rich learning environments are designed to support the academic, social, emotional and active spirit of young learners. Learning spaces are arranged in flexible learning neighborhoods. There is a mix of classroom types, collaborative spaces and maker spaces on every level.

The campus links to the original Mueller airport with a large, wing-shaped roof; a gymnasium that resembles an aircraft hangar; and runway-inspired wayfinding graphics throughout the campus. Blue and white are reminders of the airport’s color scheme. A rooftop deck provides expansive views of the old airport site, including the remaining control tower.

The campus also supports the new urbanist community’s commitment to sustainability and healthy living. Conservation and carbon emission strategies are on display, making sustainability a teaching tool. All the roofs on the campus are solar ready; screens and overhangs reduce heat gain in the interior spaces, helping to cut energy use on the campus by 32% from a baseline standard. Water use is reduced by 60% from an industry baseline; 100% of the water will be recycled and used for irrigation and toilets.

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