Castleberry ISD—Gary S. Jones Administration Building Historic Preservation
Architect: WRA Architects
The building, a 1938 WPA project in the Art Deco style, expanded in 1945, bears a Texas Historic Commission marker. After serving as an elementary school for 75 years, a replacement school was constructed next door and this building became the District’s Administration Building. Preserving the historical character of this early 20th Century building was a goal in this renovation. The old Cafeteria/Auditorium became the new Board Room and the entire building was updated to modern standards.
District and architect committed to preserve the beauty of the 75-year old edifice which features solid oak and Art Deco architectural detailing. The new public spaces are situated in the most prominent locations to enhance community involvement. Many in the community remember the old Cafeteria/Auditorium was a central gathering place, and that continues today with the Board meeting room occupying that same space, yet now with all modern fixtures, renovated restrooms and ADA accessibility.
Due to the building’s age the architect coordinated closely with the District to identify and preserve the best parts of the old building. All exterior walls (previously all uninsulated) were completely insulated in this work. At a cost of only $88 per SF, this historic renovation brought significant value to the taxpayers. Furthermore, the project was designed by the architect 100% in 3D BIM enabling potential conflicts to be resolved before construction, preventing costly changes in the field.
Designed by LEED-accredited architects with many Sustainable Design features, the District’s decision to preserve the building and its historical heritage is the project’s biggest gift to the environment. Many sustainable features are incorporated: Insulation was added to entire building envelope (previously uninsulated); East/West facing glass minimized to reduce heat load; shared-use spaces open to the community; Courtyard area for community activities; energy-efficient windows in every room.
Many historic features of community tradition were preserved and designed around in the renovation of this neighborhood icon: An 1898 water well built onsite to serve the school has been made into a commemorative monument; Texas Historic Commission marker at front door; the old Cafeteria/Auditorium, a main gathering place for decades, is now a public venue for School Board meetings; site renovation included adding community-use outdoor activity spaces, a walking path, and saving all mature oaks.
Meetings and workshops involving a wide section of long-time community citizens refined goals for the project. Planning focused on maximizing long-term cost-effective reuse of the 75-year old building, while enhancing, as much as reasonable, its historic significance in this tight-knit community. 21st Century learning methods affecting the facility’s availability to students were prioritized. Multiple design concepts were articulated and evaluated. Coordinated hazmat team for asbestos abatement.
The goal was to transform this 1938 Art Deco building into a modern facility while retaining its early 20th Century personality. After serving as an elementary for 75 years, a replacement school was built next door and this building was transformed into a high tech District Headquarters. Many period architectural elements were preserved, including Art Deco details and original oak. Historical monuments on-site chronicle the District’s legacy. Entire building envelope was completely insulated.
Star of Distinction Category Winner