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Bells Mill Elementary School Complements Its Community With a Color Palette That is Both Cheerful and Tasteful


8225 Bells Mill Road



Bells Mill Elementary School


  • The Valspar Corporation
  • Oak Contracting
  • WMCRP, Architects Inc.
  • PAC-CLAD Petersen Aluminum
  • CitiRoof Corporation

Project Status


Room or Space


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Project Description

In the design for Bells Mill Elementary School in Potomac, Maryland, WMCRP Architects drew on both historic and modern influences. The colorful complex features a brick and metal exterior that brings together colonial, schoolhouse and farmhouse design elements that complement this historic and affluent community.

The 77,000-square-foot facility features 18,000 square feet of 12” x 1.5” Petersen Aluminum metal wall panels and 2,500 square feet of soffit panels. The designers chose a palette of four colors—Hemlock Green, Colonial Red, Sandstone and Slate Gray—to echo the colors used on the area’s traditional homes. And by using Valspar’s Fluropon coatings on the metal panels the designers ensured that the colors will stay vivid and true for years to come. This was an especially important consideration for the Bells Mill project, where community input had a large role in the color selection, with parents and neighborhood residents weighing in on the choices during several planning meetings.

Fluropon coatings use a premium fluoropolymer system containing 70% PVDF (Polyvinylidene Fluoride) resins, which, in addition to helping colors stay true, also provides outstanding UV protection and resistance to chalking and chemical degradation. The coatings can withstand challenging environments while retaining their color, gloss and appearance.

Michael Poness, design principal at WMCRP Architects, underscored the key role that the color and coating selection played in the process, noting that the firm was pleased with the combination of colors and textures that they had to choose from.

The firm was so pleased, in fact, that the Bells Mill project was considered as a new protocol for WMCRP’s elementary school designs. It’s a model worthy of replicating, as the palette achieves the rare feat of combining the cheerful appearance of an elementary school with the handsome, more subdued tones of its surrounding community.

Bells Mill Elementary School, 8225 Bells Mill Road, Potomac, MD 20854;
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