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August 29, 2005, is a date that most of the country will forever remember. But for the close-knit community of Meraux, the date bares personal significance as the day Hurricane Katrina roared through, destroying the levees and unleashing a flood that buried their town in a watery toxic soup of marsh, mud, oil, and gas. The entire community was evacuated by any form of transportation available--boat, bus, pickup truck, helicopter--forced to wait until the waters receded to survey the extent of the destruction. What they found upon their return was unimaginable.
"Every house, every street, every business was affected," said St. Bernard Parish School Board Superintendent Doris Voitier in a school board documentary regarding the storm. The board dealt with the reality that over half of the schools in the parish were destroyed beyond repair. Those that were still structurally sound had to be gutted and completely refurbished. In effect, the school system was gone. But, the people of Meraux were determined to come home. "I made a pledge to the community that for the first child who arrived back, I would provide educational services," said Voitier. Thus began a whirlwind of rebirth and revitalization.
Joseph J. Davies Elementary School was one of the schools that had to be completely razed and rebuilt. Despite a construction timeline that had to be condensed from eighteen months to an amazing nine months due to repopulation demands, the phoenix that arose from Katrina's ashes garnered state, regional, and national construction excellence awards. This state-of-the art, technology-rich school is approximately 72,000 sq. ft. and consists of 44 classrooms, a computer room, a media center room, and an arts room. Amenities also include a performance stage and a large cafeteria with a fully accessorized kitchen.
The structure consists of architectural block, brick veneer, structural steel, standing seam metal roof, interior gypsum boards, and acoustical ceilings. Over 80,000 Trenwyth Astra-Glaze-SW+ units in seven different colors were used throughout the interior of the school to create a vibrant learning environment to match the spirit of the returning families of Meraux.
Product: Trenwyth® Astra-Glaze-SW+®
Architect Firms: PBK - Baton Rouge, CSRS Architects - Baton Rouge
Architects: Fred Montes, PBK Partner; Wayne Reynaud, Architect; David Mogray, Project Executive/Designer
General Contractor: Gibbs Construction - New Orleans
Masonry Contractor: Rush Masonry - New Orleans
ASTRA-GLAZE-SW+ glazed units are pre-faced architectural concrete masonry blocks that have a thermoset glazing compound permanently molded to one or more faces. This glazing compound is cured and heat-treated in gas-fired tunnel kilns, thus becoming an integral part of the unit. Available in nearly 100 designer colors, ASTRA-GLAZE is ideal for use in both exterior and interior design. TRENWYTH's specialized manufacturing processes ensure dimensional uniformity of the glazed facing regardless of minor variations in the block. In addition, custom color matching capabilities and a wide variety of shapes and scoring patterns provide the ultimate in design flexibility.
Rigorously tested for numerous environmental hazards, including acid rain, extreme temperature variations, fume exhaust, weathering, and more, the ASTRAGLAZE-SW+ product line conforms to ASTM C90 and ASTM C744 standards and are manufactured with special additives to resist mold and moisture. These graffiti and weather-resistant blocks are virtually maintenance-free with a satin finish that will last a lifetime.