Built in the 1950s, the 109,000-square-foot Bellefonte Middle School in Bellefonte, Pa., was constructed entirely of yellow brick. For the recent 18,000-square-foot addition to this school, L. Robert Kimball & Associates of West Chester, Pa., developed a checkerboard pattern with two colors of brick "to reduce the scale of the building, bringing it down to a smaller level for the children," says project architect David L. Schrader. For contrast, the architect used shot-blasted concrete masonry in interior public spaces and at the exterior entrances. "I blended the brick and the block because the facades are so long--I wanted to break them up into smaller horizontal increments," he explains. "This makes the façade friendlier and more dynamic." Adding to this energy, the curving elements at the roofline mimic the hills in the background.

The exterior wall system of the steel-frame addition is a masonry cavity wall, with an 8-inch CMU backup and a 4-inch brick or block veneer. Showalter Masonry of Everett, Pa., did just over $400,000 in masonry work on the project. Although very proud of the job, Showalter's Dave Mann says the project didn't present any new challenges or require special equipment. Because the building is single-story, the contractor used conventional frame scaffolding. Most of the time, Showalter deployed eight bricklayers and four laborers on the job. The project took a total of 7 months to complete; the facility was built in phases, allowing it to be open during the construction process. "It went really well," Mann emphasizes. "The brick and block blended well," he notes. "The light-colored block didn't overtake the brick like a dark color would have. The brick and block enhance one another."