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.
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.
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.
This replacement school was constructed on an accelerated timeline so that Baltimore City Public Schools could occupy the building after the winter break. A combination of excellent plans, team experience and project-focused collaboration, generated nearly $1.3 million in savings to the owner.
The new 116,000 sf, 800 student facility is designed to promote flexible and interactive learning environments. All three classroom wings, P-K through 2nd grade, 3rd through 5th grade and 6th through 8th grade, contain dedicated Collaborative Learning Areas which are centralized to make the spaces open and easily accessible. Larger core-curriculum spaces consisting of the Cafeteria/Dining, Media Center, Administration, Gymnasium, and Community Space are located on the first floor.
CAM joined the project team during the Concept Design stage, while program standards and the replacement building’s orientation were being evaluated for this challenging site. During this time, we provided numerous cost estimates to the owner and assisted with key planning decisions.
In order to avoid unnecessary soil import/export costs, CAM studied and presented numerous building location scenarios with associated cost impacts. CAM and the design team had to balance various elements to meet LEED requirements, and achieve program goals. The desire to provide a welcoming addition to the neighborhood was accomplished while still meeting new parking requirements and providing walkable pathways easily accessed from the adjoining housing. Extensive sitework was performed in order to provide multiple playgrounds and a large athletic field, adjacent to the community space entrance.
The Robert Poole Building is home to The Academy for College and Career Exploration (ACCE) and The Independence School, a project within the 21st Century School Buildings Plan. Our team partnered with the Maryland Stadium Authority, Baltimore City Public Schools, & JRS Architects to provide pre-construction & construction services to this historic building.
This project renovates the original historic building and demolishes several later, outdated additions, replacing them with two new additions. Construction began in August 2016, and was completed for the start of school in August 2018. Key features include 72,044 sf of renovated space including the Media Center and CTE Labs, with another 63,852 sf of new construction. The new portion of the building contains a state-of-the-art Gymnasium, Art & Music Classrooms, and a Collaborative Learning Stair.
A dedicated entrance for community space leads to 1,980 sf featuring a large meeting room, career readiness room, food pantry, and a laundry center. In addition, there are two new greenhouses available for student use.
Thoughtful design allows for the building to maximize daylight in instructional areas, including the new collaborative learning areas, while there is a clear circulation path for wayfinding and security.
The renovated facility will gracefully transform an iconic building in the Hampden neighborhood into a true 21st century school.
This 188,000 square foot renovation and addition project was scheduled for twelve distinct phases and necessitated double shift work for over two years. The tightly scheduled project also remained occupied throughout its duration.
Due to the complexity of the job, the aggressive schedule and the sheer acreage of the facility, CAM managed the renovation, the addition, the site work and the creation of a new pre-treatment waste water facility as four individual sub projects. Each of these sub projects had its own shifts and crews.
For nearly the entire duration of the project, the renovation required that CAM work two full shifts during all times when the school was closed to mitigate any impact to the administration and student population. The day shift proceeded form 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. while the second shift worked from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. The second shift included an entirely different workforce and superintendent who worked closely in concert with the day shift superintendent.
This twelve-phased 143,000 square foot renovation included remediation of asbestos and removal and disposal of PCB ballasts. Renovations also included demolition throughout the school, installation of all new finishes and fixtures, new casework and classroom accessories and work to the mechanical, sprinkler and electrical systems. Tightly coordinated phasing mandated that work be completed for the students to return to the renovated classrooms in accordance with the schedule. Parts of the building were vacated during breaks which allowed for unimpeded progress in some areas.
The addition was primarily constructed during the day shift. It consisted of a new three-story, 45,000 square foot building with a cafeteria and STEM science addition. The addition is connected to the existing building via a new enclosed second floor bridge link. The new structural steel, brick and cast stone structure also creates the new feature entry into the school. Upon completion of the new addition and entry, the school moved into the new spaces while the renovations and site work continued.
The addition includes a new cafeteria with a full service kitchen, pantry and serving areas, eleven new Biology classrooms, Chemistry and Physics laboratories with prep and storage rooms, restrooms, offices and circulation areas. Science casework, shelving and fume hoods as well as extensive IT requirements differentiate these spaces from typical high school classrooms. A new HVAC system was also installed that includes a two pipe chilled water system and boiler.
The site work on this 270 acre facility was also primarily performed during normal working hours. Additional night shifts were incorporated during work which required tying in to the existing electrical infrastructure. Site work also included extensive grading, paving for roadways and parking lots, and the installation of utilities and drain fields.
Twelve new storm water management ponds were also installed adjacent to five athletic complexes all of which needed to remain operational throughout the school year and for scheduled recreation programs during the summers and school breaks.
The fourth sub-project represented the construction of a new waste water/pre-treatment facility. The facility has the capability of handling 10,000 gallons/day. In addition to serving the school as a waste water treatment plant, the building also serves to house and care for livestock associated with the school’s agricultural program.
During the entire project CAM managed logistical challenges as well. Since there was only a single entry and exit to the school and site, deliveries were tightly coordinated with the 40 school buses and student and staff vehicular traffic. Materials for the project could only be received during specific windows of time which varied with the school’s event calendar.
Despite nearly three years of continuous construction activity, major school activities including concerts, proms and athletic activities were incorporated into the schedule and proceeded without interruption.
CAM was employed as the CMaR to convert a portion of the Seton Keough High School into the new Holy Angels Catholic School to quickly accommodate the relocated pre-school, kindergarten, and/or elementary school children. CAM met their commitment to working within the stringent deadline of less than 2 months for opening the new school.
While few exterior modifications were required, the entire new school needed to be separated from the high school’s interior, complete with fire separations and fire alarm upgrades throughout. Asbestos needed to be abated, classrooms and restrooms needed to be created or modified, and new restrooms were added to meet the needs of the new elementary and pre-school students.
The seven existing “gang” restrooms were completely gutted and reconstructed with all new fixtures, partitions, and accessories, and ceramic tile floors installed. The administrative area for the high school needed a facelift, and a portion of the former convent was also renovated for use as office space.
New administrative offices were constructed to accommodate the Holy Angels Catholic School staff. and a new Health Suite was constructed to serve both schools. CAM renovated two existing classrooms for use as a Computer Lab and Library and also added air conditioning to the space, while several of the existing rooms were converted for use as Pre-K and K classrooms. All new IT cabling and systems were installed throughout the school, and fire separations were constructed at both the corridors and all staircases to meet new fire code regulations. Additional fire alarm work needed to receive a certificate of occupancy and was added to the scope during the course of the renovation.
CAM was also charged with adding onto work that had already been designed and at an increase of more than 40% if the cost of the original project in added scope or work were necessary due to the discovery of unforeseen conditions. These tasks were all completed without the ability to add time to an already foreshortened schedule. For example, previously unforeseen asbestos-containing materials were abated under full containment regulations as an addition to CAM’s scope of work.
The existing school structure now has two separate and secure entries, one for each of the schools, as well as distinctly different classrooms, administrative areas, restrooms, etc., and it is able to share the auditorium and athletic facilities without interrupting the curriculum of either schools.
Although classes end in June each year, a school remains occupied throughout the summer break, and CAM was able to complete their work throughout all three floors of the building without adversely impacting the school’s summer schedule. CAM’s commitment to “doing what it takes” to meet a schedule was once again demonstrated when the staff and students returned on time to the newly renovated schools.
The new award winning Waverly PreK-8 School is a multi-phased, 3 story 130,000 square foot building including an 11,000 square foot underground parking garage. This LEED Gold Project was the first new Baltimore City School built in decades.
Special LEED features included a green vegetative roof, sunshades, extensive use of natural lighting, and high efficiency building systems. Post bid, CAM was requested to add Solar Panels to the facility, and in a design build delivery, ultimately chose to utilize roofs on both Phase 1 & 2 structures to optimize exposure.
The school houses an extensive media center, and a three story feature atrium entry which separates the cafeteria/auditorium and kitchen for community uses.
Architectural features include curved drywall and sloped acoustical ceilings, multiple styles of metal panels, a barrel vault metal roof, and two large skylights which provide natural lighting into the building core. Special attention was provided in this very tight occupied site to safely transition the middle and elementary students into this new facility.
Phase 1 of the new school has been constructed directly adjacent to the existing occupied elementary school and just across the street from the existing middle school and nearby residences.
Upon the completion of Phase I the elementary and the middle school students and administrators relocated into the new building during the winter break.
Dedication of the Phase 1 part of the school was held in early April 2014 and attended by the Governor, Mayor and other high ranking City officials who celebrated the first project being constructed under the City Schools’ aggressive program to improve their educational facilities.
Phase 2 added additional classrooms as well as a new gymnasium. The exterior of the gymnasium is adorned by relief art panels.
The new 107,000 square foot middle school constructed on Kent Island on the western end of Queen Anne’s County, serves as the gateway to Maryland’s scenic Eastern Shore. The school’s feature entry design is based on the nautical symbolism of a ship’s hull. The building uses a geothermal heat-pump technology as its heating and cooling system. The capacity of the new middle school is 800 students in grades 6 to 8. Initially, up to 500 middle school students are proposed in grades 6 to 8 with 300 ninth-grade students in a separate academy on the second floor.
A clear circulation system (keel of a boat) easily understood by students, parents, community and visitors is the main design feature of the project. It serves as the lobby for the main public-use spaces (physical-education suite with stage, cafeteria and music suite) and provides the link between the public spaces and the educational areas. The administration area is situated centrally at the main entrance to oversee the access of all students, parents and visitors to the school and main corridor.
Architectural features include exposed painted structural steel, complex rubber flooring at the corridors which had a critical humidity requirement that mandated heating the school even in July to reach the required percentage of humidity for proper installation, extensive glass and specialty lighting. Site work for the project was made more complex due to the proximity of this project to the adjacent occupied elementary school which shares the site.