Echelon’s Waterford Stone Helps Create a Grand Entrance to Grissom High School

Grissom High School of Huntsville, AlabamaWhen designing K-12 education facilities, most architects seek to incorporate masonry materials that balance durability with economics, which sometimes leads to aesthetics being sacrificed to ensure the project remains within budgetary constraints. The team at Chapman Sisson Architects was able to offer its client durability and a beautiful product at an economical price by incorporating Echelon’s Waterford Stone®. The design team used the full-depth veneer product to make a grand entrance to the new Grissom High School, while using basic concrete masonry units throughout the rest of the school to remain on budget. Completed in July 2017, Grissom High School is located on a beautiful 61-acre campus in Huntsville, Alabama. Home to over 1,800 students, the school features naturally lit learning spaces, an 850-seat auditorium, a competition basketball gym, and many collaborative learning spaces—including a cyber café adjoining the cafeteria.

To enhance the overall look of the project, Echelon’s Waterford Stone® was used on the exterior and interior of the school’s entrance. The product evokes the natural, time-honed look of hand-cut stone with its antiqued edges and textured face, while featuring all the modern benefits of manufactured masonry. Waterford Stone® is available in a diverse array of sizes and installs like brick, which leads to very little waste. The product also comes in a wide range of hues and features integrated color throughout the veneer unit, so it will still look like natural stone if the surface gets chipped. In addition, all four edges are textured and finished so there is no need for special corner pieces. Its economical price combined with ease of installation makes Waterford Stone® an ideal replacement for traditional hand-cut stone.
The team at Chapman Sisson Architects had used different stone products on past projects, but found Waterford Stone® could meet their budgetary needs and still provide the stone look they were seeking on the school entrance.
“We wanted something durable, but attractive, and Waterford Stone® is a big, hearty product with a nice, random pattern that looks more akin to natural stone and blends well with the brick and wood we used on the exterior,” stated Robert Mercer, Design Director, Chapman Sisson Architects. “It was also available in a color that matches the look of local stone here in North Alabama, which only enhances the realistic stone aesthetic.”
Mercer explained that the project included a significant amount of exposed outside corners, and the depth, thickness and textured appearance of the Waterford Stone® allowed the designers to create a more finished, natural look without using a border. The team continued the exterior look into the lobby of the building, using the stone to add texture and warmth to the interior. “We have received rave reviews on the project, and everybody loves the look,” said Mike Sprader, Project Architect. “I love the product and would have no hesitation in using Waterford Stone® again.”