portrait, rachelwicks@blackspectacles.com


Ron Brinkman of LEO A DALY walks us through the remodel and renovation of Elizabeth Hall Elementary School.  He focuses on the primary objectives of adding a secured entry, cafeteria and kitchen expansion, and providing AC cooling throughout the building. He also shows examples of specifications and details of unique features.  

Practical Applications

Elizabeth Hall Elementary School is a tenant remodel and renovation of an existing elementary school. Primary objectives of this project are to create a new secured entry, front door system, new cafeteria remodel, kitchen expansion, and provide AC cooling throughout the building.

With this particular project, we really wanted to focus and emphasize on really letting the architecture be a backdrop for the artwork and temporary palates of the school, and really take a lot of the color down, bring a lot of the brightness in the room up, and let the artwork of the students really shine as that's very much curated and a part of the school's culture. So, a few of the ways that we've been able to achieve that desired effect of really bringing down a lot of the distracting architecture that was existing in the facility was to re-skin and re-clad much of the interior of the space. So, in doing that we removed a lot of really old tile from the original construction in the 50s, a lot of flooring, and, along with that, we re-laid out the wall configuration in the background here to accommodate a larger kitchen, all of which were architectural strategies to lighten and brighten the space.

And because the structural system through different parts of the building are all very different, it's very hard to find locations through which plumbing and piping can actually occur to make those happen. For this project, we ordered a ground-penetrating radar of the facilities. With a lot of old construction, there's a lot of unknowns with what structure's actually in place.

For this project we decided to use an existing window opening to be less invasive on the structure and therefore require a lot less structural remediation at the new opening. Essentially, what we want to do, what's desired, is to cut straight to maintain that same window opening, cut straight down so that we can get to the floor and fill a new kind of floor system and doorway through that opening. And to do that, examples here on the right of how we went about detailing that.

So the first thing to note with my example here on the right is that we have the exterior glazing systems and we're taking out glazing and putting in a new louvre to accommodate airflow in and out so there can always be clean air in the classrooms. We'll heat it or cool it depending on the season and then flush it back out whenever it's used. So there's kind of a demolition of what the existing system detail looks like here on the left of my example.

However, during selective demolition of construction, it became discovered that it was a little bit different of a window system in reality that required a little bit different documentation and means by which we could actually construct and build our system the way we wanted to. In this original design, the thought was to introduce a louver that could mount to the inside face of the existing aluminum jams. In a typical curtain wall assembly, these plates here on the inside and the outside can pop off and then they can custom install new plates, so that was the assumption that we were making.

So that was our kind of design drive in this particular project was to create a new entry that didn't hopefully take too much attention away from the monumental entry. And additionally with that we wanted to create an equitable entry from an ADA wheelchair accessibility standpoint. They actually did have a sloped sidewalk, but it was not code conforming and needed some remediation from the school.

So, kind of, as much as we can detail in relation to the primary goals of the project, whether it's putting in a new door or putting in new finishes or new flooring, whatever is really the most valuable to the owner or client and ultimately the users to get that right is where we tend to try and focus our attention.

It's actually a high performance coating, which means there's three or four layers of material that are applied to the finishes of steel, this is just steel, just red steel, applied to the finishes of this to make it really watertight and rust resistant, primary goal of which being to have it weather with very little maintenance needed over the seasons, it's a school, there's lots of maintenance, they have lots of other priorities to maintain more critical areas of the building, so we don't want them to worry about this, hopefully, really minimalist canopy. So what makes this spec so interesting is that it's not a typical spec that would see or that you would use in a lot of applications. Most high performance coatings that you would use aren't necessarily in reference to steel when we're making a building.

So, this is just saying, our interpretation of it is that, even though the types of construction of this building have sort of changed with how the code reads, it is still valid within the modern code of the types of construction this exists as. Uniquely, for this project, we changed a few things related to accessibilities. We added a few notes about that.

That's just kind of a best practice of using the space in our interpretation of that.

But there are a lot of really good benefits, and really good values and really important uses of getting construction estimates throughout the design process so that we can hopefully design in a manner that's appropriate to what's good for the owner, what the client and owner needs, and hopefully can validate the construction ultimately of the building. At the end of the day, we want everyone to be on the same page, so we want the owner to be on the same page with all of their financing partners, whomever the contractor is when they're included within the process, aligned with their means of making it, and obviously all of that is in align with our design proposal. There's a lot of different ways to look at construction estimates, and construction estimating is actually quite different depending on contracting type that you use.

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