Modular classrooms enabling years of thinking ahead. Why, because it’s paying off for the School District of Palm Beach County. That’s both financially and from a sustainability perspective.

Instead of building two new school additions from scratch, the school re-used other school districts concrete and decided to stack. Stacking together purchased concrete relocatable classrooms from Royal Concrete Concepts, LLC (RCC). Most noteworthy is the 100-year life cycle of these classrooms.  Thereby creating large two-story additions. That’s at both Crestwood Middle School and Whispering Pines Elementary School.

Consequently, the individual units, engineering meets or exceeds High Velocity Wind Zone (HVWZ) requirements of the Florida Building Code. As well as designed for withstanding Category 5 Hurricanes. The school district purchased from Royal Concrete Concepts, LLC of West Palm Beach. Most noteworthy, they withstand everything. I mean several punishing hurricanes a year without a single failure.

In the aftermath of the devastating 2005 and 2006 hurricanes, they were strong enough (made from 6,000 psi concrete). Strong enough and surviving South Florida hurricanes.

Now the classrooms are being praised again for saving the district money. On what?!  Saving on construction costs at a time. Big especially when budgets are extremely tight.

According to  Joseph Sanches, Chief of Facilities Management for the school, the district saving 26% on the cost for the new additions. All by utilizing relocatable classroom units. Again, that’s compared to building a new addition from brand new materials, Sanches explained.

So with future in mind, the facilities department standardized the concrete relocatables. Purchased by the school district in the early – 2000’s, all so they have flat roofs. That which then made them expandable, stackable, and reconfigurable. In order to conserve precious space on school campuses. Royal Concrete Concepts was both the original manufacturer of the concrete classroom units and general contractor. Yes they are the GC for the two most recent addition projects.

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Classrooms construction completed April 11 for Crestwood Middle School addition.

Royal Concrete Concepts assisting the district with earlier school additions. That’s including Jupiter Middle School, which also utilized concrete modular classrooms. They had one for an on-time fast-track project completion. It was the lessons learned on the earlier school project that helped to make the Crestwood and Whispering Pines additions a reality. At Jupiter Middle School, 15 concrete modular classrooms got reused for 17,332 sq. ft. wing addition. The project resulting in a 50% cost savings. Due to the reused modulars, according to Sanches.

In Royal Palm Beach at Crestwood Middle School, the relocatables help by adding 1,773 student stations. The existing cafeteria expanded as well as several other upgrades to the facility. All according to Moss & Associates; was the acting as construction manager.

In Boca Raton at Whispering Pines, the 25,171 sq. ft. addition utilizing 18 concrete relocatables. Most interesting, they were transported from three different schools around the County. Early on, the district chose the long lasting modulars. That’s so they could move them as student populations shifted. Each relocatable adding 850 sq. ft. of new classroom space to this school.

The eye-appealing yet functional architectural elements designed into the projects. All by architect Lance Courtemanche of Tercilla Courtemanche Architects of West Palm Beach. The architects choosing an L-shaped layout of the modular unit. The L-shaped layout providing students with shorter walk times. Again, comparing to a long rectangular design.

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Rendering of Crestwood Middle School modular classroom addition.

The numerous LEED-Accredited Professional (LEED-APs) with the school district and at Royal Concrete Concepts with Tercilla Courtemanche.  Teaming up and providing the most sustainable wing additions possible. The pre-engineered structural concrete elements construction occurring off-site at Royal’s Okeechobee facility. This helping reduce on-site material waste and site disruptions. As well as speeding up the construction process. The units are also insulated for energy efficiency. As well, they contain 30% recycled content and other green attributes.

Newly manufactured elements for the wing addition including: stairwells, an elevator shaft, restrooms, laboratories, and electrical closets. The existing modular units trucked to Okeechobee for replacement of their floors. Then the refurbishing of the drywall.  Finally, the interiors got a fresh coat of paint. Other innovative design modifications accommodated a two-story addition. Finally and all with previously free-standing modular units.

In addition and another unique fact is that some of the relocatable classrooms are being re-used. Re-used again and again and moving several times. All throughout the district to keep up with shifting demographics.

In conclusion and at the School District of Palm Beach County, its students learning about frugality and sustainability. Thereby providing safer and greener surroundings and al the while enhancing the learning environment.

http://www dot royalconcreteconcepts dot com, WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (May 26, 2011)