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News Releases

March 5, 2004

Lord, Aeck & Sargent Completes $16.3 Million Educational and Performing Arts Facility

Crenellation Style Brick and Cast Stone Building Comprises Library, Theatre and Rehearsal Rooms, Fine Arts Classrooms, and Faculty/Staff Development Area

GAINESVILLE, Ga., March 5, 2004 – Classes, auditions and rehearsals began recently at the Sandy Beaver Center for Teaching and Learning, a three-story, 88,000-square- foot educational and performing arts facility here on the campus of Riverside Military Academy. Lord, Aeck & Sargent, an Atlanta-based architectural firm, was the full- service architect for the $16.3 million building, which houses a library and reading room; a 770-seat theatre/auditorium; art and photography classrooms; instrumental and choral rehearsal rooms; and an area for faculty and professional staff development.

The Beaver Center is part of a master plan that Lord, Aeck & Sargent developed for the 96-year-old college preparatory academy. It also is the final of six administration, academic, classroom/laboratory and residential facilities programmed and designed by Lord, Aeck & Sargent over the past eight years. Four of the six buildings face a courtyard, replaced aging structures, and all feature the school’s traditional red brick crenellation style.

“The building’s exterior closely resembles others on campus, yet it has distinctive characteristics, like a stone entryway and a central tower, that set it apart as the centerpiece of our academic facilities,” said Col. H. Michael Hughes, Riverside Military Academy superintendent.

The Beaver Center’s entryway is made of a regional quarried natural stone, a material chosen to give the campus a softer look and add life to the building. The main entrance also features a 55-foot-high rotunda surrounded at the top by windows that allow natural light to stream down on the floor, which is centered by a marble and brass school medallion.

Hughes noted that the Beaver Center is a tribute to General Sandy Beaver, who served for 56 years as president of Riverside Military Academy and who believed that a holistic learning approach is vital to academic success. “In constructing the Beaver Center, we have emphasized the importance of the arts and literature in the education of young men.

“The building’s design – from the art studios to extensive music facilities and the state-of-the-art theatre – will enhance our students’ opportunities to explore their creativity and express themselves physically and emotionally. The library, with its light- filled spaces and wood paneling, has a reverent and collegial quality that is conducive to quiet, focused study,” Hughes said.

The facility’s interior features custom-designed alabaster glass and stained wood light fixtures as well as cherry wood trim and paneling throughout the rotunda, library and theatre/auditorium lobby. The library, which will accommodate 40,000 volumes, includes a two-story grand traditional reading room with clerestory windows.

The full-performance theatre/auditorium seats 770 and features a flyloft that houses flown rigging, a rear projection screen, full digital sound and dimming/performance lighting systems. A green room adjoins the theatre.

The Beaver Center provides the school’s music department with eight acoustically engineered rooms including choral and band rooms and six practice rooms in varying sizes.

For the school’s art department, the Beaver Center includes four large classrooms for painting, printmaking and ceramics. The art studios offer a pristine view of the North Georgia mountains.

Also significant is the dedicated space the Beaver Center provides for ongoing faculty and professional development. “We’re excited that visiting professors and our own faculty will be able to use this space for seminars and continuing education classes,” Hughes noted.

The Project Team

The Sandy Beaver Center for Teaching and Learning project team included:

  • Lord, Aeck & Sargent – Atlanta: prime architect
  • Cape Dixson Associates (CDAI) – Atlanta: theatre, acoustics & audio-visual consultant
  • Horizon Engineering Inc. – Marietta, Ga.: civil engineer
  • Newcomb & Boyd – Atlanta: MEPFP and voice/data engineer
  • Stan Lindsey & Associates – Atlanta: structural engineer

About Lord, Aeck & Sargent

Founded in 1942, Lord, Aeck & Sargent is an award-winning architectural firm serving clients in scientific, academic, historic preservation, arts and cultural markets. The firm’s core values are responsive design, technological expertise and exceptional service. Lord, Aeck & Sargent is headquartered in Atlanta and has offices in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and Chapel Hill, North Carolina. For more information, visit the firm at

About Riverside Military Academy

Riverside Military Academy, located in Gainesville, Ga., is a private college preparatory school for young men in grades 7-12. The academy’s Corps of Cadets represents more than 400 students from more than 30 states and 10 countries. For more information, visit Riverside’s website at