Using a variety of tactics, The Boldt Company saved $ 5 million on building a new K-8 public school in Sacramento, California.
The Paso Verde School project team faced a number of pandemic-related challenges after construction began on the $ 60 million facility in May 2019.
The pandemic caused significant disruptions in the building materials supply chain and halted typical communication on the construction site. The project’s supply chain was impacted by production plant downtime and transportation delays as deliveries were rerouted due to COVID-19.
For example, the cement shortage in Northern California significantly delayed concrete paving for the project. Manufacturing delays affected windows, roofs, floors and cladding. Flooring made in South Korea had to be sourced in a resource-efficient manner, and materials made in California had to be relocated to manufacturing facilities in Texas and Kentucky.
The new facility, which was completed in March, includes a 19-acre campus with six buildings, about 38 teaching stations, and more than 90,000 square feet that serve about 1,000 students. The campus includes an administration building, a gym with changing rooms, science laboratories, a multipurpose room, a music room, an amphitheater and an outdoor garden.
Designed by Lionakis Architects of Sacramento, the school was originally planned with lots of spaces for collaborative learning and extensive outdoor classrooms, so no major design changes were required to maintain social distancing after the pandemic hit. However, air handling units have been studied more closely.
“The system was developed beyond what was needed, but we had to make sure it worked at the highest capacity before occupying it,” Boldt project manager Bobby Barney said in a press release shared with Construction Dive. “We carried out thorough tests and considerations before the opening.”
But despite the challenges, the Boldt team managed to save millions on the project. Due to the outdoor common rooms, the students are currently in class for the school year 2021/2022.
The project was built under California’s lease / leaseback statute, which allows a school district to lease property to a developer who in turn builds a school facility on the property and leases the facility back to the school district. The advantage of these statutes is that the school district can select the client and work with them collaboratively.
The main changes included, for example:
- The design called for folding doors overhead, and Boldt’s site managers suggested swapping them out for a storefront application to save $ 1,652,567.
- The teams changed the enclosure systems to a James Hardie siding system and Tyvek commercial film was used as a weather barrier instead of a liquid-coated barrier, saving $ 1,503,157.
- Spray-lock was used in place of a vapor emission control system, saving $ 364,795.
- The crews used Class II tissues and aggregates instead of treating the ground under the hardscape on site, saving $ 259,252.
- Boldt eliminated the work on the intersection manholes and only changed the existing ductwork on the manhole base to save $ 163,492.
- Instead of pre-fabricated seat walls, cast-in-place seat walls were used, saving about $ 163,492. This was used on the amphitheater and the outside benches around the grounds.
Funding for school renovations
More school districts are feeling the pressure to expand the facility as the pandemic has made working from home more popular, Brooke Higman, project director for The Boldt Company, said in the press release. She said families who were once tied to metropolitan areas because of jobs can now move to suburban and rural areas, which could be the catalyst for school expansion.
Accelerated by the pandemic, dense core areas of major U.S. metropolitan areas saw net urban declines while others Suburbs and some smaller towns posted net gains, so Bloomberg.
Congress allocated nearly $ 200 billion to state and local education agencies in 2020 and 2021 to help reopen schools. The American Rescue Plan (ARP), enacted in March by President Joe Biden, directly addresses student learning recovery from pandemic.
But supply chain problems, bottlenecks and inflationary prices make it difficult for counties to invest in building school facilities, said Sasha Pudelski, advocacy director for the School Superintendents Association (AASA). About 16% of districts said they spend between 26% and 50% of ARP funds on school improvements, while 45% of districts said they spend between 1% and 10% of ARP funds on these improvements, according to an AASA report would.