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An impressive design

image Klein Cain High School

HOUSTON - Klein Cain High School is the most recent example of showplace beauty, impressive design and excellent construction workmanship in the Klein Independent School District. At 675,000sf, the new school is one of the largest in the Houston area and fills the need to accommodate more students in the growing school district.



    PBK Architects designed the facility to honor the heritage of the area’s founding settlers while implementing the most current thought in Next Generation learning spaces within the building.
    The two-phase project was constructed on a 92-acre greenfield site in northwest Houston. The new school will accommodate up to 3,500 students in grades 9-12 and provides an extensive range of advanced resources and facilities, from core curriculum classrooms to technical education spaces.
    Satterfield & Pontikes Construction (S&P) served as the general contractor and Construction Manager at Risk, providing both preconstruction and construction services for the large project.
    Construction began in February 2015 and was completed in August 2017 and began with clearing and preparing the site.  Special attention was required regarding a high-pressure gas pipeline running underground through the site as well as preserving and protecting seven live oak trees that would remain in close proximity of the new building.
    The school features a structural steel frame with a tested-assembly TPO roof. The building’s attractive exterior includes brick and stone columns, decorative cornices, curtain wall systems, and expansive windows framed by arches.
    Klein Cain High School has all the necessary tools and amenities for providing students with a top-notch educational experience, and includes: six Small Learning Communities (SLC’s)  of modern instructional space, labs and collaborative areas; a 1,200-seat dining facility, kitchen, food tech, and cafeteria; numerous career and technical education spaces that include health science, agriculture, business, engineering, computer programming, cosmetology; a large library and auditorium; fine arts – theater, band, choir, dance, orchestra, art, newspaper, and yearbook; large auto mechanics shop, welding; natural light-filled lobby, corridors and open spaces; three gymnasiums, natatorium; baseball, softball and football fields; tennis courts, athletics and concession buildings.
    The interior is inspired by Next Generation learning and features extensive use of transparent, transformable, and agile instructional spaces. Moveable glass panels found in the Learning Hub (library) can also be found in the collaboration areas and the SLC’s so that adjacent classrooms open up into the space. Transom windows in the classrooms allow for natural light to permeate throughout the school. Innovative “L” shaped classrooms along with the collaborative/flexible areas allow for ‘zoning’ where students can work collaboratively or independently.
    The weather was an early construction challenge. The “Tax Day & Memorial Day” floods in Houston – a deluge of 12 inches of rain in 10 hours, presented a significant difficulty in site preparations.
    In addition to an existing (smaller) detention pond on the property, S&P dug a huge, on-site, regional detention pond required by the Harris County Flood Control District. The extraordinary rain event flooded everything, including both the existing and the new detention ponds. The result was too much rain in a short period of time and produced muddy, swampy conditions throughout the property.
    While water still covered the site, the construction team re-sequenced certain parts of the site work to help stay on schedule. Concentrating on the building pad area, which had been raised earlier due to a grade change, the team was able to dry the area, place the reinforcing steel, and ready the area for the concrete pour without losing any time.
    Satterfield and Pontikes served as the construction manager on Klein Cain High School and their long-standing professional relationship with Klein ISD and PBK enabled all parties to work together efficiently and effectively. 
    PBK Architects Inc, founded in 1981 is a multi-discipline full service AE firm with specialized expertise in Next Generation educational environments.
    Satterfield & Pontikes Construction Inc. founded in 1989 is a general contractor providing a full range preconstruction, construction and consulting services.  –cmw

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Carol Wiatrek meditor@constructionnews.net