This outdoor classroom will be fitted with a mosaic this fall as part of a student project.

LATICRETE will be teaming up with Julie Richey, a local mosaic artist, and her student daughter to optimize an upcoming outdoor classroom at a Texas school.

This unique project will take place at North Hills Preparatory, a K - 12 charter school in Irving, Texas. "There is an outdoor classroom area which will consist of a 20-foot wide central concrete medallion and semi-circular rows of concrete benches,” said Julie Richey, the mosaic artist responsible for spearheading this project. “We'll be adhering the mosaic to the circle. In subsequent years, we may try to clad the benches with mosaics, as well.”

“I've been wanting to mosaic those bare concrete forms for some time,” continued Richey. “The opportunity to design the mosaic was initiated by my daughter, Claire, who had to design a personal project for her coursework.”

As part of her project, Claire had to seek approval from the head administrator, the school board and the Las Colinas Association architectural control committee. After her samples and drawings were submitted, she received approval from all to proceed. Julie's involvement was to be in gathering resources, funds and arranging for mosaic artist volunteers to complete the fabrication and installation.

The mosaic design.

A budget was arrived at based on past experience with local public art projects. In March, a fundraiser cocktail party was hosted which, with the help of sponsors, raised the needed funds for the tile and pattern expenses.

"Henry B. Rothberg of LATICRETE soon got involved, pledging to generously donate the necessary LATICRETE materials. This was exciting for me, as I've worked with LATICRETE products before, with great results. For example, I participated in the award-winning River of Life mosaic project at the University of Iowa, which exclusively used LATICRETE products,” Richey stated. “Last month, I finished an installation at the University of Texas/Austin, Holland Family Student Center at the Jackson School of Geosciences. We used the LATICRETE 'One Step Method,' which worked extremely well.”

The LATICRETE ‘One Step Method’ is a process that entails latex admix (such as LATICRETE® 4237 Latex Additive) being combined with grouting material (such as LATICRETE 1500 Sanded Grout) resulting in basically an ironclad ‘grout adhesive,’ according to the company.

The forthcoming plan for the outdoor classroom is to begin installation of the mosaics in October 2012, when the temperature in Texas generally drops down below 80 degrees.