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Architectural firm wins award for design of Hardin Valley Academy

The Lewis Group Architects recently was awarded three first-place awards and one third -place award from the Tennessee School Board Association for Excellence in Architectural Design, for three different schools, once of which was Hardin Valley Academy.

Schools were judged in three separate categories: new construction, renovation and remodeling and people’s choice.

HVA won the new construction category, Holston Middle School won in the renovation and remodeling category and Grainger High School won people’s choice as well as third-place in thee new construction division.

The People’s Choice award allows school board members across the state to vote for the school they felt was most well presented, regardless of category.

Todd Brang, LGA’s director of business development, said, “Lewis Group Architects have been in business now for 26 years. We are a firm that focuses primarily on healthcare and education design.”

While Hardin Valley Academy boasts Knox County Schools’ only geothermal heating and cooling system and has been lauded for “green” technology, the award was based on each firm’s architectural solution to the Educational Program Requirements and Specifications of the Board of Education, which was based on criteria such as cost efficiency, energy conscious design, functional adequacy and safety.

“The idea going into it was not to make [HVA] a Leed [certified] school but to use green practices wherever it made sense financially,” Brang said.

The geothermal heating and cooling system was financially responsible.

HVA project manager Doulgas Shover said, “We have 286 wells out there that are 300 feet deep and we are drawing free heating and cooling from the ground temperature to operate our system more efficiently.

“The only portions of the building that are not on that geothermal heating and cooling system are things like the gymnasium and the auditorium where you have very infrequent large load, but where you lose the efficiencies of geothermal. All the classrooms, all the administrative areas are hooked up to the geothermal closed-loop system,” he added.

The lighting system also is “green.”

Shover said, “We have occupancy sensors for the lighting. If there is no movement sensed in that room for a 15-minute period the lights are going to automatically cut off so we do not have lights being on from 8 in the morning to 6:30 at night when the janitors come through and turn them off.

“We use a lighting system in both the gymnasium and the commons area that is a high-efficiency, high output fluorescent system. So it has a lower operating cost and a more efficient lamplight,” he added.

The budget for HVA already had been set when Knox County decided to make the school its first “academy-style” school, but the budget was not altered to accommodate the project.

Still working within the budget restraints of a standard school project, LGA was able to change its design to reflect the academy-style and managed to come under budget.


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