DALLAS/FORT WORTH – With Texas’ population boom, the demand for educational facilities has increased, and Arlington Classics Academy (ACA) was no exception. With more than 1,300 students enrolled in the charter school’s two campuses, ACA needed more space for an additional 192 students in grades 3-5.
Because ACA had successfully part-nered on a past project with commercial modular builder Ramtech Building Sys-tems, they teamed up again for Arlington Classics Academy Elementary School’s 11-acre Dalworthington Gardens campus at 2800 W. Arkansas Ln. The 37,507-sf. prefabricated school building includes 27 elementary grade level classes, art, music and special services spaces, a cafeteria with warming kitchen, an indoor exercise area, a library annex, a learning lab, administration, conference and reception offices as well as counseling, special education and speech intervention rooms.
The project’s scope included full site development, foundations, utilities, a new access and holding drives to alleviate traffic concerns, full architectural, engi-neering and site designs as well as city planning and zoning approvals. Though large in size and scope, design and construction of the project only took one year to complete, thanks to Ramtech’s utilization of their Accelerated Building System (ABS) form of permanent modular building construction. ABS’ off-site pre-fabrication and on-site construc-tion techniques enable Ramtech to deliver the look and feel of a site-built structure faster and at a lower cost.
“Forty-five innovative floorless, pre-manufactured modular building sections were designed, constructed and in-spected in Ramtech Building’s Mansfield plant,” Gary Davenport, Ramtech’s registered architect, explains. “They were then clad in a 100% masonry exterior using brick and split-faced block, with stucco applied to the accented areas. These sections were shipped to the site and crane-lifted onto a Ramtech con-structed foundation slab with exten-ded concrete caissons. A cutting-edge pre-manufactured roof system was shipped to the site and installed atop adjacent modular sections to provide a taller finished ceiling for the nearly 3,000-sf indoor exercise space.”
Although constructed quickly, the project wasn’t without challenges. The town’s approval process, which included the complete involvement of ACA’s board of trustees, school superintendent Craig Simms, civil engineer Di Sciullo-Terry, Stanton & Associates and a traffic engineer, was extensive. Traffic studies, site approvals, parcel merging and associ-ated town approvals were needed. Preservation of an existing pecan orchard had to also be taken into consideration, as nearly two acres of additional pave-ment through the orchard was needed to lessen traffic congestion.
“The site development included extensive traffic containment within the orchard while maintaining as many legacy trees as possible,” Davenport says. “The driveway system was instrumental in removing as many cars as possible from Arkansas Lane reducing traffic congestions at drop-off and pick-up times.”
Other challenges included architec-tural exterior compliance (which included material and color approvals), and com-mencing the construction during a very rainy spring that complicated placement of the foundation.
Ramtech met and overcame every challenge, and is pleased that they had the opportunity to achieve this client’s goals a second time.
“By combining a design-build ap-proach with pre-fabricated off-site build-ing sections, we were able to provide ex-cellent quality of construction as well as rapid design and construction times that met the owner’s needs and requirements,” Davenport says. “I believe this project is a great example of a successful design-build project led by a fully involved client with an excellent design and construction team in a short period of time.”
Design-build construction company Ramtech Building Systems in Mansfield provides innovative permanent modular buildings for educational institutions, gov-ernment agencies, healthcare providers and Fortune 500 companies throughout the nation. –mjm
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