SARC

CAM is proud to have worked with a spousal/sexual abuse resource center (“SARC”) in Harford County to provide a safer, more comfortable space for their mission of protecting victims of domestic abuse. While it was challenging to make alterations and additions to existing structures from different eras, we were able to integrate these buildings into our work and ensure seamless transitions between structures. The new facility provides (2) large central kitchen/gathering spaces, (2) laundry rooms, a childcare area, fitness room, counseling offices, as well as suites designed to house up to twenty (20) families of three. Critically, CAM provided upgrades to security and ADA accommodations to the additions, which aligns with SARC’s goal of safety and accessibility for the people they serve.

Montebello Elementary/Middle School

The Montebello Elementary/Middle School project encompassed a 74,000 sf systemic renovation and complete interior gut of a historic school property, restoring the two existing buildings back to shell condition and then constructing all new improvements throughout. There was both a historic restoration component on the exterior of the existing structures, as well as a compatible newly constructed “cafeterorium” wing (20,000 sf) which had to be nestled within this confined site and communicate seamlessly between multiple distinct floor elevations, with the help of a brand new ADA stair tower.

One of the main goals of the project was to undo a series of inconsistent, incompatible renovation efforts over the decades, while highlighting the original architectural features of the building through a variety of restoration and reconstruction efforts:

  • new architectural shingled roofs
  • rounded architectural bronze gutter and downspout system to match the historic copper material salvaged on the field house
  • basketweave masonry restoration and cleaning of the architectural stone, steps, columns, balustrade, needlepointing, and school name engraving
  • replacement of over 300 existing windows with aluminum clad window systems to replicate the style and light pattern of the remaining historic windows
  • capture traditional stone archways and architectural features at the entry canopy through the second floor windows of breakout areas as well as a classroom and “wholeness” room
  • gym renovation repurposed existing stage façade, brought out the elegance of the arched windows, and dropped a drywall ceiling beneath the formerly exposed girder trusses to conceal new HVAC and improve acoustics for the space’s theatrical/assembly functions.
  • Renovated internal stairwell in the rear, with sweeping views overlooking Lake Montebello
  • Expansive city views out of collaborative learning areas as well as classrooms, overlooking 33rd street toward City College, the old Memorial Stadium site, and row homes rising up the hillside towards the horizon

This job contained a few unique features for a PreK-8th school, such as a locker room, hybrid library-media center with bulkhead accent lighting, and a video production studio with greenscreen, display mounting racks, and hookups for an iMac editing booth. One core component of this job was the construction of a $2 million state of the art kitchen with large walk-in refrigerator-freezer boxes, steam/convection ovens, stovetop, boiling hot water vats, warmers, automatic dishwashing equipment, and two individual serving lines to serve the brand new cafeteria (which doubles as a multipurpose room). Tall ceilings, architectural accent lighting, acoustical panels, and an extensive sound system make this space suitable for performances, community meetings, and other events. Finally, CAM executed the construction of a very difficult outdoor learning area between the new and historic buildings, installing planter beds, wide concrete seating, and staircases for students to congregate and classes to be held outdoors in good weather. We had to contend with a ten-foot elevation change spanning a distance of less than twenty feet within this newly formed courtyard.

By no means was this an easy undertaking for the A&E team or CAM, as this site presented a number of inherent obstacles given existing conditions. Challenging features included steep slopes (50’ drop from Harford Road to Curran Drive), outdoor learning areas and playgrounds wedged between structures, inserting state-of-the art mechanical equipment within restricted spaces (former boiler rooms), and a bulkhead pocket detail around all historic window openings (to preserve original dimensions, enhance natural light/views, while concealing new ceiling cassettes within modern drop ceiling systems). Thoughtful sequencing and stocking of materials in the building was necessary to sustain progress despite having a single access lane for supplies and crane mobilization.

Highlandtown Elementary/Middle School

The Highlandtown Elementary/Middle School project involved renovating the existing 75,000 square foot historic school building and constructing a 45,000 square foot ground-up classroom addition, which effectively doubled the enrollment capacity of this site. The project also involved a variety of site improvements, namely a multi-purpose soccer field (satisfying a major community priority), new parking/loading areas, a playground within a newly created courtyard area, and various fencing, sidewalk, and other frontage improvements to enable students’ ability to take advantage of the shaded front yard space. JRS Architects took a clean modern approach to the design of the new middle-school wing with modern finishes and a sleek commercial glassline to seamlessly integrate with the existing masonry façade of Highlandtown Elementary School. Expansion of the PreK and Kindergarten programs was another key goal of this project, creating vibrant interactive learning environments with multiple flexible teacher’s stations and private kiddie restrooms in each home room.

Prominent new features of this “21st Century Schools” project included advanced lighting controls with occupied sensor modes, which adjust as outdoor lighting conditions change, “One Screen” smart boards with integrated pointers and teacher microphone system in every classroom, A/V boxes hidden above dummy ceiling tiles, and all new internet service tying into BCPS’s citywide emergency response network (with repeaters in each classroom). CAM also established dedicated vocational-tech (R&D) rooms with reeled power chords, eyewash stations, and an equipment storage room, allowing students to experiment with robotics and other power tools to gain exposure to engineering and related trades. Additionally, the job provided new art classrooms with extensive casework, drying racks, and kiln rooms, as well as a new music room with acoustical wall panels, deflectors, and an instrument storage area.

In order to satisfy the MSA’s Owner Controlled Insurance Program on this CMaR project, CAM deployed a cloud-based workforce visibility platform known as “Eyrus”. This software aided our team’s efforts in the field by monitoring all personnel that enters the site, while also serving as a manpower enforcement tool by tracking subcontractor attendance and labor hours on-site. This program enhanced the safety and security of this project by only allowing personnel to enter the LOD of the property if they had attended a safety orientation, passed a background check, and received a badge. CAM was able to accurately report on Local Resident and New Hire contributions to this project and efficiently manage the Certified Payroll Reporting process via GPS microchips placed in the hardhat of every employee. CAM, ownership, and all subs had access to a custom reporting dashboard on PC, mobile, or tablet, which allowed all parties to quickly retrieve project data and successfully meet these workforce development goals.

Notably, we launched within the peak of Covid, just a few months after the government shut down all non-essential businesses, and most other industries were fully working from home. CAM’s project management team had to get creative in order to keep the project within budget and maintain a tight schedule in the face of long material delays and the unavailability of a wide swath of common materials (metals, woods, plastics, resins, glues, chip-dependent products). This conversation began early during pre-construction, and we worked hard to pro-actively communicate with our architectural and engineering partners to convey the challenges we were seeing in real time. We worked diligently to identify alternative, substantially equivalent products, when possible, and served as a conduit between subcontractors’ suppliers and MSA/BCPS, as well as their design team. In some cases, adjustments were made to more readily-available materials and components. In instances where substitutions were not possible (ie: switchgear – with specialized breakers being imported from New Mexico), CAM had to exercise patience and find a way to work under suboptimal conditions (via temp services, generators, etc). Despite the building not having permanent power in place until 2 months prior to final delivery and occupancy, we were able to finish in time for the ribbon cutting and welcome the new student body population into the facility following the New Year’s holiday.