Case Study Alder Creek

Project Details
Project: Alder Creek Middle School
Segment: Education
Location: Lake Tahoe, Calififornia 
DESIGNER / ARCHITECT: Lionakis Beaumont Design Group, Inc.
Leanne Davis, Associate AIA

The Tahoe Truckee Unified School District was recently awarded a $250,000 grant to incorporate high performance concepts into their new middle school’s design. From the geothermal heating and cooling system to the sunlit classrooms, the Alder Creek Middle School is an example of green technology at work from the construction materials to the layout. Armstrong MARMORETTE linoleum flooring, made from natural raw and recycled materials, plays a major role in supporting the school’s desire to use eco-friendly materials and to conserve energy. The flooring’s long lifecycle and good maintenance characteristics also contribute to the school’s sustainable design principles.

The new Alder Creek Middle School, located in north Lake Tahoe, Calififornia, is designed to operate economically and to help protect the environment by using energy-efficient design and materials. To meet the state’s Collaborative for High Performance Schools* recommendations, alternative design that saves energy, resources and money was encouraged. That challenge was eagerly accepted by the school district and by the architectural firm selected for the project, Lionakis Beaumont Design Group, Inc. Project Designer Leanne Davis, Associate AIA, LEED™ AP** says, “Our goal was to create a new, built environment which is sensitive to and integrates the natural and man-made context of the Truckee region, while using sustainable building practices to create a healthy, energy-efficient building that enhances learning.” The building uses the geographic features of the upper and lower Truckee River Watershed as an organizing element. The river basin and mountain trail theme unifies the interior and is expressed through materials, forms, colors and architectural details. Davis says, “I specified linoleum because I was looking for a natural product that is attractive and would be durable. Armstrong™ was chosen because of the excellent product representation. The strong, new colors that were just introduced work really well with our design philosophy.” Another reason the firm likes to specify Armstrong™ is the “quick-to-respond marketing representative,” according to Davis. “We know that if there is ever a problem in the field, Armstrong™ is there to back their product.”

MARMORETTE is exactly what the project manager was looking for in a linoleum floor. “We were aiming for a very natural look and the entire project is based on sustainable design principals, including high performance, low emittance, recycled/recyclable content, and last but not least, renewability.” MARMORETTE™ is used on the floors in the school corridors, staff room, staff restrooms, nurse’s office, classrooms and library circulation desk area. The colors coordinate and line up with the ceiling soffits, which are painted to match. Aztec Red, Bluebird, Pine Green, Cream, Parchment Beige and Black are used interchangeably to create the design. The classic marbleized visual is part of the Armstrong™ portfolio of linoleum products that features a completely refreshed, color-integrated spectrum designed specifically for the North American market. New, focused colors complement health care, education and retail spaces.

The school, which opened in September 2004 to 700 students, can educate 1,000 students at optimum capacity. Tahoe Truckee Unified School District Project Manager, Rob Koster, says, “We were interested in linoleum because we wanted to reduce our maintenance costs and get away from waxing and stripping floors frequently, which puts heavy metals into the waste system.” The contractor, Sacramento-based School Specialties, installed the custom design with color coordinated Armstrong™ linoleum weld rod.


* The Collaborative for High Performance Schools is a California statewide partnership of government, utilities and nonprofit organizations.
* * LEED is a program of the U.S. Green Building Council that evaluates environmental performance from a whole building perspective over the building’s lifecycle.