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Lutheran High School of St. Charles County

Summarize the project's program, features and achievements.

Lutheran High School of St. Charles County brought M+H Architects into their master planning process to prepare a multi-campus plan that would serve the school well into the future. Phase 1 of the new master plan called for a 2-story addition including a chemistry lab, music room, STEM lab, gymnasium and locker rooms. In order to comply with the newly adopted 2015 International Building Codes and ICC 500 in St. Charles County, the gymnasium would also serve as a community storm shelter. Tilt-up construction was a straight-forward choice that would provide resistance to storm winds as well as the structural integrity required to support the 5' deep joists needed to provide the clear height and width needed for the gym. The 17" deep cast-in-place sandwich panels provided strength and thermal protection. Storm shelter specific detailing was utilized to the smallest items including specially designed offset vertical joints. The 3/8" joints are offset from exterior to interior to provide protection from any potential airborne trajectories during a storm. As this project took place on a functioning high school campus, the project site constraints led to stacking up to 3 panels on casting slabs during pours. In order to tie the new addition to the existing school, panels were tilted to be 3" from the existing building. Given the overall depth of the panels, a 500-ton crane was required to tilt the heaviest panels on the project. To break out of the traditional concrete "box", the design team decided to incorporate a blend of paint schemes, reveals, thin brick, and the inclusion of metal panels facing the main road to meet AHJ requirements and add visual aesthetics to the tilt-up construction methodologies. The result is a modern design that speaks to the STEM related program of the building while employing a custom matched brick blend to reflect the existing campus.

What obstacles were overcome related to the schedule, budget, program, specification, site, etc. on this project?

The newly adopted Code and ICC 500 requirements dictated changes to our program after the master plan was complete. This resulted in significant changes to the overall project cost and schedule. We worked closely with the GC, AHJ, and the School to discuss the best approaches and interpretation of the code requirements. We paid close attention to back-up MEP systems in the occurrence of a main system failure during a tornadic event.

Communicate any engineering complexities or unique features of the panel design for this project.

ICC 500 requirements are relatively new, and are based upon masonry construction; however, due to the size (volume and height) of the gymnasium, concrete tilt-up construction was essential to meet the wind and loading requirements. Specialty systems (roof structure, windows, etc.) were carefully selected and designed to function properly in the event of a tornado. In addition, all fenestration and panel joints were designed to ensure no openings larger than 3/8" were provided. Wall panel joints were offset so in the event of a joint failure, any airborne debris cannot penetrate the shell of the shelter.

What is the potential for this project's impact on the community and/or environment?

The gymnasium is designed per ICC 500 requirements and was the first storm shelter associated with a K-12 Educational project in St. Charles County, MO. While occupied by a private school, the shelter is capable of supporting the local community as a storm shelter.

Main banner image for Lutheran High School of St. Charles County

Project Location

St. Peters, MO 63376
United States


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Project Images


Project Team (TCA Members)

General Contractor:
Concrete Contractor:
Fenix Construction Company
Matthew McFarland
MStudio West

Project Specifics

Project Category:
Building Types:
High School
Paint (Flat)
Sandwich Panel (Non-Composite)
Number of Floors:
Number of Panels:
46 panels
Tilt-Up Wall Area:
21,565 sq ft (2,003 sq m)
Total Floor Area:
20,411 sq ft (1,896 sq m)
Project Footprint:
14,619 sq ft (1,358 sq m)
Tallest Panel:
34 ft 11 in (10.64 m)
Widest Panel:
25 ft 11 in (7.90 m)
Largest Panel:
903 sq ft (83.9 sq m)
Heaviest Panel:
130,000 lbs (58,967 kg)