How do you bring two separate high schools together? Connect them with an 800+’ covered walkway system.
The new serpentine walkway which links Zeeland High School East to West provides a dry, shaded path between the two schools. Prior to the canopy being installed, students walked back and forth on a worn path in the rain, snow and hot sun.
Dave Alphenaar of GMB architects in Holland, MI had a vision for the space and designed the innovative new canopy with several unique features. Each of the 40 columns has a gusset in the corner of the column and beam providing the structure with extra strength as it stretches out and covers the new paved path.
On each gusset, laser cut powder coated steel plates feature Zeeland East’s logo/team name: ‘Chix’, while walking in the direction of Zeeland West, you will find the ‘Dux’ logos on the column gussets. In between team logos is the Zeeland High ‘Z’ logo. The laser cut gusset logos are a clever way of building team spirit as students move between both schools for lessons.
Other unique features include 87 electrical cut outs in order to hide conduit for integrating lighting on each of the beams for nighttime security and wayfinding. There are no ledges for bird nesting or spontaneous climbing – in fact, the 10’ minimum clearance ensures students can’t climb the columns to access the standing seam roof.
To allow emergency service vehicles to pass through the walkway canopy, the structure is separated at the road and then the canopy picks up again on the other side of the road to the entrance of the school.
The open air steel structure was completed over the summer break and when students returned to class this fall, they were in for a real surprise. The canopy is beautiful, architectural, functional and certainly the talk of the schools.