Rockfon metal ceilings with wood-look finish featured on interior and exterior of G.W. Harby Junior High in Texas

Posted on May 14th, 2024 by Heather West

Rockfon_TX-GWHarbyJrHigh_GPDGroup1web.jpgIn response to community growth throughout Texas’ Alvin Independent School District (ISD), G.W. Harby Junior High underwent an extensive, multi-year renovation before reopening. In August 2023, the modernized 187,288-square-foot educational facility welcomed more than 700 students in grades 6-9 to their new classrooms and learning spaces.

GPD Group designed the school with updated amenities, products and materials. The design team selected Rockfon® Planar® Plus linear metal ceilings in a Metalwood®Oak finish for both the school’s interior, such as in the new library and collaborative learning areas, and on its exterior canopies for the sheltered gathering space.

Familiar with Rockfon’s product offering, the architects previously have specified metal and acoustic stone wool ceiling panels on other Houston-area schools. Acousti Engineering Company of Florida (AECO) also has installed Rockfon’s ceiling systems on numerous projects across the U.S.

“After two and a half years of waiting to see the light at the end of the tunnel, it’s here and it is an amazing space. …It still has a Harby feel. When you come in, you still have some components there that are what the original Harby was, but yet with the new flare and the new design,” said Carol Nelson, Alvin ISD superintendent and former Harby Junior High School librarian (2003-05).

Established in 1980, the 40-year-old Harby Junior High School was in need of modernized, larger facilities to serve today’s students in a rapidly growing school district. The major renovation and expansion project began in June 2021. During the two and a half years of construction, the interior was razed completely down to its slab-and-tilt walls and then rebuilt while students were temporarily relocated to other schools.

Harby Junior High School’s revitalization included approximately 15,000 square feet of new metal ceilings from Rockfon installed by AECO. The metal ceiling panels’ wood-look finish provides a timeless, warm, contemporary appearance and high performance.

Nelson added, “We are so grateful for the community support allowing us to keep our District a dynamic learning organization committed to excellence for each student and every program.”

Rockfon_TX-GWHarbyJrHigh_GPDGroup2web.jpgIn the new library, the distinctive ceiling design forms an undulating, wave over the group instruction zones and reading areas, flowing down the wall tops above the book stacks. In the collaborative flex-spaces, the metal panels cascade from the ceiling, curving down to clad the interior accent wall.

Connecting interior and exterior spaces, Rockfon’s wood-look metal ceiling extends outside as a canopy covering the gathering area for students and staff. Both inside and outside, the metal panels provide accessibility to the security, sprinklers, lighting, cameras and the other components integrated within the plenum and concealed by the ceiling.

“When we sat down to plan and design the school and the interior, one of the things that was really important to us was how do we fit the old with the new,” said Beth Lawson, Alvin ISD, Harby Junior High School Principal.

The durable metal minimizes cleaning and maintenance, helping Alvin ISD save labor, time and costs over a long lifespan. Supporting the health and well-being of students and staff, Rockfon’s metal ceilings do not contain organic compounds that would support mold and microbial growth or pests. These products also can be specified with up to 100 percent recycled content and is 100 percent locally recyclable at the end of its useful life as a ceiling panel.

The renovation and expansion of Harby Junior High School was completed in 2023, adding more than 35,000 square feet of classroom space. Other updates included a performance stage plus enhanced security and safety features. The school’s traffic flow and student pick-up areas were overhauled, and sidewalks added for pedestrian connections to the adjoining neighborhoods.

“I was floored. It is absolutely beautiful. It’s an amazing space to be able to create a new culture to push our students and see them succeed, and rebrand Harby in this way. It’s been an honor to be part of the whole experience,” said Lauren Chance, Alvin ISD, Harby Junior High School teacher and former student.

The total renovation and expansion of Harby Junior High School brings the facility up to date and in alignment with the quality offered by other schools in the fast-growing Alvin ISD. By replacing aging materials and amenities with modern building systems, including Rockfon’s metal ceilings, Harby Junior High School provides students and faculty with a contemporary, comfortable, healthy and easily maintained environment to support academic and operational success for years to come.

“I think it’s going to be great for the kids and the staff,” said Maritza Reyes, Alvin ISD, Harby Junior High School nurse and former student.

G.W. Harby Junior High School, Alvin, Texas
• Owner: Alvin Independent School District; Alvin, Texas
• Architect: GPD Group; Akron, Ohio
• Contractor: Gamma Construction Company; Houston
• Ceiling systems - installer: Acousti Engineering Company of Florida (AECO); Houston
• Ceiling systems - manufacturer: Rockfon; Chicago
• Photos: GPD Group

About Rockfon
Rockfon is part of ROCKWOOL Group and is offering advanced acoustic ceilings and wall solutions to create beautiful, comfortable spaces.

At ROCKWOOL Group, we are committed to enriching the lives of everyone who experiences our product solutions. Our expertise is perfectly suited to tackle many of today’s biggest sustainability and development challenges, from energy consumption and noise pollution to fire resilience, water scarcity and flooding. Our range of products reflects the diversity of the world’s needs, while supporting our stakeholders in reducing their own carbon footprint.

Stone wool is a versatile material and forms the basis of all our businesses. With approximately 12,000 passionate colleagues in 40 countries, we are one of the world leaders in stone wool solutions, from building insulation to acoustic ceilings, external cladding systems to horticultural solutions, engineered fibers for industrial use to insulation for the process industry, and marine and offshore.

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