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.
Within the inner city of Baltimore, two (2) existing Elementary/Middle Schools were replaced with two (2) new duplicate zero-energy facilities, less than two miles apart from each other. The Holabird Academy has a distinct and individual exterior palette, however shares an identical footprint with Graceland Park/O’Donnell Heights EMS. CAM utilized a project management crew that had a Chief Superintendent & Senior Project Manager oversee both sites with individual project management teams at each site accordingly.
The school is equipped with student gardens, outdoor classrooms, rooftop solar labs, and vegetative roofs. Both schools were completed simultaneously, opening on-time during the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. Unique elements of this LEED Platinum certified project included the fact that these were Net Zero replacement schools with Geothermal Wells, ICF (Insulated Concrete Form) Perimeter Walls, and Solar Panels.
Via an allowance, CAM hired a firm (CMTA) that provided an integrated monitoring and building information system for the kids to learn and monitor the building, and features and performance. This occurs through a touchscreen monitor in the main lobby/atrium-mounted at an appropriate height for touching by children.
This was a multi-phased project insofar as the new buildings were completely built while maintaining continuity and use of the old structures a mere 100 feet away, and once occupancy of the new facilities took place, CAM had to remediate and demolish each of the old buildings to make way for new ballfields, playgrounds, and running tracks.
The Owings Mills Learning Center is a one-of-a-kind project in Baltimore County and features excellent roadside visibility that generated a high volume of consumer usage for its two occupants following its early spring official grand opening. The six-story, 120,000-square foot building overlooking I-795 has been designed to house a new branch of the Baltimore County Public Library as well as an expanded location for the Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC). Positioned on the first two levels of the structure, within 40,000 square feet of space, is the 19th and largest branch of the Baltimore County Public Library; it is stocked with a collection of nearly 115,000 items and features individual study rooms, 70 computers public use, a magazine lounge, an early learning activity center, teen area, a café, and a large, quiet study area. The library is also wired for complementary Wi-Fi service and contains a community room that will be shared by CCBC.
CCBC has leased the remaining 80,000 square feet and occupies floors three through six. Upon completion of the Learning Center, CCBC relocated from its current space on Painters Mill Road, which operates as an Extension Center to the main campus in Catonsville. The new space is approximately three times larger than the current facility, features 27 separate classrooms and specialized science laboratories, and provides resources to allow CCBC to expand its existing enrollment of 5,000 students.
The post-tension concrete Owings Mills Learning Center has a complex skin of glass curtain wall, architectural pre-cast concrete, EIFS and architectural metal panel skin, faces a public plaza within Metro Centre at Owings Mills, and is connected to the existing eight-level parking garage. The project has been constructed to achieve LEED-Silver certification via its partial green roof designed to improve both air and water quality and mitigate heat loss and gain, use of low VOC materials, use of recycled materials, regionally manufactured materials fabricated within 500 miles of its location, and all wood used on the project is FSC (Forestry Stewardship Council)-certified.