Metal Proves its Mettle in Texas

April 28, 2022

A metal roof offered the optimal surface for a large field of solar panels helping the city of San Marcos meet their sustainability goals.

San Marcos, Texas
Lawrence Group (Earl Swisher, lead architect)

Looking to consolidate public service departments and agencies scattered across the city into a modern, centralized location, the city of San Marcos, Texas, constructed nine buildings on a single site. The new Public Service Complex was designed to increase communication between departments and give the city an opportunity to grow in place over the next several years.

“We wanted to create a flexible office space that provided natural daylighting to all the occupants within a very tight budget,” said Project Manager Edgar Zarate of Lawrence Group Architects.

The city and their architectural team at Lawrence Group Architects also had sustainability and resiliency in mind. The use of solar panels was an important design objective of the project. Metal is considered a sustainable material because of its durability, long life cycle and recyclability. Metal roofing is also an optimal solution when solar panels will be incorporated into a roof, as the lifespan of the metal material exceeds the life expectancy of the solar panels, unlike shingles. This project features metal roofing and metal wall panels as a consistent design element throughout the campus.


More than 52,000 sq. ft. of SuperLok standing seam panels were installed on the various buildings. The five-section utility building has three workspace areas topped by SuperLok 24-gauge Galvalume Plus panels, connected by two smaller office sections with built-up roofing.

SuperLok is a mechanically seamed, vertical leg standing seam roofing system that offers wind uplift resistance in a 2-in. slim rib, suitable for attaching solar panels.

“We integrated a 360 kw-ac solar array, four 18,000-gallon rain collection tanks for irrigation, two 750 eKW, 938 kVA back-up generators with a 2,700-gallon capacity tank per unit, with a third option design for future connection,” Zarate said. “Also, two 1,000-gallon fuel tanks onsite for emergency use.” The project was also designed as the emergency operations center in the event of a major catastrophic event.

Long-time MBCI customer Red Dot Buildings of Athens, Texas, designed, fabricated and erected the pre-engineered metal buildings and installed the MBCI metal roofing and wall panels.

“The metal panels helped us achieve the industrial look we wanted for the complex and met the owner’s budget,” Zarate says. “The MBCI panels provided an industrial look without making the complex look like an average warehouse.”


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