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Placed-based learning

image Aerial view of Austin Achieve

AUSTIN - Founded in 1967 by Leo Joeris in San Antonio, TX, Joeris General Contractors has built a reputation in the commercial construction industry on the foundation that Joeris laid that everything depends on trust.






    Joeris General Contractors built both Phase 1 (Elementary) and Phase 2 of Austin Achieve (High School). The two-story elementary school features 77,000sf of space for students to learn, create and play. The school has 30 classrooms, multiple science labs, a music room, student union, and a college-ready center to prepare students for college. The school has two playgrounds and a full-size soccer and football field as well as a multi-purpose space.
    Phase 2 of the Austin Achieve School New Campus project includes construction of a new secondary school building on the campus site. The building is approximately 56,500sf on two floors. The work included various components for the new building including steel frame, metal stud walls, brick veneer, roofing, site work, paving and landscaping and MEP systems.
     In addition to the academic building, the scope included a sports field and spectator stands positioned in a courtyard between the Primary School (Phase 1) and the Secondary Academic Building.
    The building was constructed as a traditional slab-on-grade, steel structure with five feet of select fill. The exterior features multiple materials including cost-effective HardiePlank® and HardiePanel® siding, Lueders limestone rock applied using a field pattern of two, four, and eight-inch patterns, and “knot wood” siding that is intended to look like wood siding but isn’t actual wood. A RhinoBond® roof system was installed per the project team’s recommendation. This uni-que roof system was mechanically fastened and allowed for flexibility of installation in misty or humid conditions. The interior of the school features a unique and intricate installation of vinyl composite tile (VCT) flooring. Abuse-resistance sheetrock was installed in the school for durability and ability to withstand impacts to the walls.
    The site the charter schools was planned to be built on was previously an old construction lay-down yard for the Texas Department of Transportation (Tx DOT). Additionally, Little Walnut Creek lies adjacent to the property, only a few hundred feet away.
    Prior to the beginning of any work, the project team had to remove the old debris from the site and create a protective barrier around the creek to prevent soil erosion and contaminants from entering the creek. The project team vigilantly ensured that all SWPPP best practices were adhered to and worked with the environmental inspector to remove vegetation in a critical zone when access to the sewer main, located in the creek, was required.
    There are several unique features at the school including a purple custom-designed turf football field and a “learning staircase” in the high school that supports placed-based learning. The Austin Achieve inaugural class of Polar Bears, the school’s mascot, walked the stage to accept their diplomas this summer on their new, custom-designed and
constructed purple football field. This regulation-size turf field is centered in the middle of the two campuses and can be seen from the air as flights arrive and depart the Austin-Bergstrom Interntional Airport. The learning stairs, located in the high school, offer a flexible learning space for students to challenge themselves and each other in a collaborative space that allows them to work at their own pace and explore their own interests.
    Joeris had a great relationship with the owner and HKS Inc. The project team, Senior Project Manager Jeff Fuller,
Project Manager Ody Tsoutsos, Assistant Project Manager Suril Patel, Senior Superintendent Herbert Foster, Superintendent Grant Hagar and Assistant Superintendent Clark Toliver, worked closely with both the owner and architect to produce both an elementary and high school that will serve 600-plus students. Like many construction projects, there were challenges to overcome during the aggressive 10-month schedule and this team worked diligently and creatively to complete the school four weeks before the scheduled completion. 
    Joeris General Contractors is a full-service general contractor with offices in San Antonio, Dallas, Houston and Austin. -cmw

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Carol Wiatrek meditor@constructionnews.net