High-performance, finished architectural aluminum products support k-12 schools in achieving multiple aesthetic and performance goals, short-term construction schedules, and long-term operational value.

Schools count

In 2023, the National Center for Education Statistics estimated there were 54,834,000 students enrolled in U.S. k-12 public and private schools as taught by 3,552,000 teachers. This provides an average of 15 student to each teacher. The vast majority, more than 52 million people, learn and work in the 100,000 public school buildings.

To communicate a welcoming learning center for a diverse student population, consider colorfully finished exterior wall cladding, entrances and window systems. Architectural paints and coatings can be selected in bright hues or customized to a school’s unique color palette. For renovations and retrofits, Linetec’s in-house blending lab can match colors for historic continuity. Anodized finishes, and mica and metallic coatings emphasize an eye-catching, high-tech, modern look.

New York’s Buffalo Public School #69 Houghton Academy window replacement project respected the building’s original 1924 design, while updating for today’s high performance. Linetec provided a “two tone” finish for 125 new aluminum-framed windows from Wausau Window and Wall Systems. A durable 70% PVDF architectural coating in a light Sandstone color was painted on its exterior and a Dark Bronze anodize finish was applied to the interior.

In addition to improving the school’s appearance, Linetec also inserted polyamide insulating strut to separate the interior and exterior aluminum framing members, thereby improving the windows’ thermal performance and energy efficiency.

Massachusetts’ Saugus Middle/High School, designed by HMFH Architects, found inspiration in the town’s history as part of the U.S. iron and steel industry. Helping create the school’s recognizable metal-clad façade, Linetec finished Dri-Design’s aluminum panels in metallic tones. Water- and energy-efficient systems, healthy materials, natural light and outdoor learning environments contribute to the project’s sustainability and student well-being.

Photo courtesy of Dri-Design

Energy + efficiency = savings

K-12 school districts spend nearly $8 billion each year on energy costs, their second largest expense after teachers’ salaries. Promoting the implementation of clean energy improvements, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) awarded the first grants from the $500 million Renew America’s Schools Program in 2023. More are planned for 2024.

In addition to achieving energy efficiency and savings, schools in this program also meet Build America, Buy America (BABA) requirements which contribute to the larger economy. To assist school project teams, a list of BABA-compliant products is being developed and includes products for the building envelope. Schools’ windows and doors present a key opportunity for energy savings and are among the products most often in need of replacement, repair and maintenance.

Window and door manufacturers offer schools an advantage when they partner with a single-source solution for architectural finishing and energy improvement. At Linetec, we conveniently coordinate everything in one location to save time in meeting accelerated construction schedules. Improving thermal performance, we offer a choice of poured-and-debridged or polyamide insulating strips. For arched and circular shaped framing, we can provide stretch forming to bend and curve your aluminum extrusions prior to finishing. We also stock finished flat sheet for fast-turn project needs.

Designed by LPA Inc., TIDE Academy in Menlo Park, California, presents a metal exterior façade that blends a contemporary, high-tech aesthetic and purposeful performance worthy of a high school in the heart of Silicon Valley dedicated to Technology, Innovation, Design and Engineering.

Cladding the steel structure, Linetec finished all 13,000 square feet of perforated aluminum panels from Dri-Design in a Medium Bronze anodize. The finished aluminum panels closest to the windows shade interior classrooms, while allowing outdoor views. Elsewhere on the building, the panels provide an ornamental screen and also serves as a handrail on exterior stairs.

Among its many accolades, the visually attractive, sustainable, resilient, indoor-outdoor learning facility earned the American Institute of Architects (AIA) 2023 Architecture Award, the industry’s highest honor for a single project. The project is elevated to compensate for the expected rise of storm surge levels, and achieves a 67% reduction in energy use from the industry baseline.

Photo courtesy of Dri-Design

Versatility and durability matter

Our k-12 schools are used not only for children’s learning, but they also serve the larger community as libraries, athletic facilities, meeting venues, and emergency centers and shelters.

Designed by Wight & Company, Lincoln Elementary School in Elmhurst, Illinois showcases colorfully finished window systems that combine a friendly, approachable aesthetic with seriously high-performance protection. Linetec finished Winco Window’s aluminum-framed systems in clear anodize and in yellow, orange, green and blue painted colors. The clear anodized windows are integrated within the curtainwall allowing teachers and staff to control airflow within the school. The individual feature windows’ framing and trim showcases the bold primary colors and coordinates with the classrooms’ interior window seat book nooks.

In the gym, the school’s rainbow-hued windows also contribute to providing a safe shelter during storms. For this critical area, Winco Window’s tornado-resistant windows were tested to meet the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s FEMA P-361 criteria for safe rooms and the International Code Council’s ICC 500 Standard for the Design and Construction of Storm Shelters.

Accounting for school facilities’ multiple purposes, project teams ideally choose the most resilient, highest performing, finished architectural aluminum products. The extreme hardness of Linetec’s anodized finishes provides exceptional durability in withstanding daily bumps and scuffs of constant use.

Helping the Dan Dipert Career + Technical Center in Arlington, Texas, withstand up constant use by high school students, Linetec finished Tubelite storefront, curtainwall, entrances and sun shades in clear anodize. Designed by VLK Architects, the school’s signature look extends from the exterior to the interior to create all-inclusive, branded facility. Selected for its durability, minimal maintenance and modern aesthetic, Linetec’s anodized finish enhances the longevity and appearance of extruded aluminum framing systems.

To ensure the highest level of performance, specify AAMA 611 for Class I anodize coatings. For painted finishes, specify AAMA 2605 for 70% PVDF resin-based coatings. High-performance finished aluminum products require very little maintenance and are easy to clean. These attributes also minimize the associated costs for labor, repairs and replacement.

Photo by Chad M. Davis

Respecting the essential service schools provide on limited budgets, high-quality, high-performance, finished architectural aluminum building products immediately contribute to efficient operations and support the facilities’ effective longevity.