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  Takoma Education CampusTakoma Education Campus


Fanning Howey
210 North Lee Street, #208, Alexandria, VA 22314

General Description

Location: Washington, DC
Mar 2011 (GMP)
Construction Period:
Mar 2011 to Dec 2011
Total Square Feet: 119,000
Site: 5 acres.
Number of Buildings: Two; PK-8 32 classrooms seating 24 each; auditorium, 500 seating; gymnasium, 120 seating.
Building Sizes: First floor, 41,667; second floor, 39,667; third floor, 37,666; total, 119,000 square feet.
Building Height: First floor, 13’8”; second floor, 13’8”; third floor, 12’; total, 41’4”.
Basic Construction Type: Renovation.
Foundation: Cast-in-place. Exterior Walls: CMU, brick, curtain wall. Roof: Membrane. Floors: Concrete. Interior Walls: CMU, metal stud drywall.
Projected and/or modeled energy usage KBTU/SF/yr: 30.1.

Project Team

Associate Architect: Bryant Mitchell Architects - 7826 Eastern Avenue, NW, #409, Washington, DC 20012
Structural Engineer: ReStl Designers, Inc. - 1775 K Street NW, #220, Washington, DC 20006
General Contractor & Cost Estimator: Turner Construction Company - 1110 Vermont Avenue NW, #200, Washington, DC 20005
Mechanical & Electrical Engineer: Global Engineering Solutions - 1900 M Street, NW, #200, Washington, DC 20036

In December 2010, the Takoma Education Campus, a PK-8 school in Washington, DC, was ravaged by a devastating fire. Nearly everything was destroyed. The structure, columns, and slabs were fine, but lights had melted; tiles were fractured; and desks were reduced to piles of ash.

A little more than three months after the fire, the design-build team was selected. The project budget was set at almost $25 million, and the week after Thanksgiving set for substantial completion, allowing Takoma students and staff to be back in their home school in less than one year.

The team invited the community to bi-weekly progress meetings held at the temporary school, community centers, and finally at the adjacent gym. Teachers and students wanted to know what was going on at their building as well, but due to the extreme nature of the work on site and the compressed schedule, they could not participate in traditional "hard hat days" or teacher walkthroughs. Video links were established between the site and the temporary school building and virtual walkthroughs were offered on a regular basis. Students could actually watch their school come back to life right before their eyes.

Built in the late 1960s, Takoma followed the concept of an open plan school. Large open spaces without interior walls were designed for collaborative learning - but the nature of the approach was very dark and cavernous. Where the fire had left the remains of a 1960s shell, the design-build team created a beautiful 21st century school. Where the old building was composed of massive brick piers and recessed window wells, the new building proudly presents columns of curtain walls and glass, bridges of light and color, and a student greenhouse on the third floor terrace. The glass columns allow light to flood into the classrooms. Brightly colored window jams bounce complementary hues across floors, ceilings, and desktops.

The LEED® Gold-certified building addresses many student-centered issues such as sound attenuation, indoor air quality, and thermal comfort. The introduction of natural light was a key consideration during the design process. The old Takoma Education Campus was a dark environment with few windows. The newly renovated facility features rows of bump-out windows, two light wells, and the use of interior glass to create transparency between spaces.

In the end, the Takoma team programmed, designed, permitted, bid, and constructed 119,000 square feet in 243 days. Miles of cable, gallons of paint, yards of carpet and flooring were all ordered, delivered, and installed in less than seven months. An educational community was lifted up, dusted off, and put right in a year to the day of a fire that shook their lives.

"It's a great place for kids to be," noted Principal Rikki Hunt Taylor. "It's 21st century, it's modern, and it reflects our vision, our mission. To come back here exactly 12 months later to have a ribbon-cutting is fabulous and fascinating, and I really didn't think it was going to happen that fast. But it did and it's gorgeous and I'm impressed."

Product Information
Roofing: Mid-Atlantic Foam, Mule-Hide
Windows: Kawneer   Daylighting: Supersky
Flooring: Forbo, Altro Elevators: Eklund

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