St. Augustine Preparatory Academy of Milwaukee, Wisconsin began its second year with 900 K4 -10th grade students taking advantage of a sleek, modern learning environment dedicated to the “whole student experience.” Built with a donation from Gus Ramirez, chairman of Waukesha-based Husco International, the private school was specifically-designed to provide low- and middle-income families with the latest amenities in a functional, yet comfortable setting accented by the natural sophistication of Echelon’s Trendstone concrete masonry units (CMUs).

“We are not just about classrooms,” says Kelsey Brenn, the Academy’s CFO. “Our curriculum is focused on advancing every facet of the student’s life. Everything we do is performed in a simple, solid and fun style.”

“Echelon’s Trendstone masonry fit perfectly into this mold. Its dark and light gray hues delicately highlighted our simple, but inviting architecture. Plus, it looks exactly like the day we opened. No signs of wear whatsoever.”

Korb + Associates Architects of Milwaukee worked with the non-denominational Christian school to create a modern, vibrant school that encourages education, while enduring the wear and tear of a grade school population that will one day expand to 2,000 students.  An ideal complement to the structure’s clean, contemporary design, Trendstone CMUs were applied in three separate colors and random patterns throughout the building. In the largest, most prominent element of the facility, Korb used the darkest color block to create a four-story tower that frames a cross form on the front entry.

Korb was looking for a ground-face concrete masonry unit that was pre-finished with natural looks.  These integrally colored concrete blocks feature one or more faces ground to expose the variegated colors of the natural aggregates. Once finished, these ground face masonry blocks provide a vibrant stone look and durability to match.

In addition, Brenn says Trendstone CMUs not only look great, but install easily in a single step. Unlike competitive blocks, it ships with an extra coating from the factory, which helps to repel moisture and makes it easy to clean graffiti. The gloss acrylic also keeps the mason-applied mortar from seeping into the CMU.

“Because it’s a K-12 school, we were definitely concerned about durability,” explains Randy Wilhelm, architect with Korb + Associates. “Along with being durable, the block is attractive, and we were able to use three different colors, which gave us a nice palette to work with resulting in a number of unique design elements.”

“Trendstone CMUs and schools marry very well,” adds Gina Jones, Echelon Sales. “The product ensures that schools get the value and durability needed along with nice aesthetics for a beautiful setting that promotes learning.”

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