George Washington Middle School- Ridgewood, NJ

The challenge

George Washington was constructed in the 1920s and has a very historic and classic architectural appearance, including an abundance of brick. Unfortunately, the continuous evolution of building materials and construction has left many of the exterior structural components outdated. Since very few products from that time period are no longer in stock, many items would have to be custom made to match the school’s style.

The gymnasium renovation would have to emulate the pre-existing school building from both a color and style standpoint. Not only would the gym have to embody an old school look and appear historic, but it would have to have the strength and mechanical durability to last for future generations. As a result, a structural component needed to be created to support the brick veneer planned to canvas the addition.

The solution

Reading Rock is the only company in the cast stone industry that can combine all components, wet and dry, of cast stone to make it appear as if it was all manufactured the same way. This is made possible by advanced and innovative color blending methods monitored by in-house experts. Reading Rock provides unlimited design options regarding cast stone that combines old world craftsmanship and low maintenance, giving George Washington the flexibility to match the designs of both buildings. Cast stone products such as base panels, medallions, caps and bands blend decoration and functionality for a great final product.

RockCast’s Custom Cast Stone Series can be structural to support veneer, a feature necessary for this project.  This series matches color and texture of architectural units without typical setbacks and allows for specialized anchoring with rebar, tie backs, weld plates, and other anchoring requirements. For this project, 13 large structural support arches, weighing over 10,000 pounds apiece, were created to provide the middle school with necessary structural support.

The result

Prior to the renovations, George Washington had one of the smallest gyms in the Ridgewood School District. The new custom-made gym is now one of the best in the district, even at the high school level.  The addition has been applauded for its design and ability to accommodate the whole school during assemblies, something the previous gym could not do.