Winds of hope
BY JUNE REMLEY
The Lake High School project
truly began just
on June 5, 2010,
when a level
EF4 tornado tore a 10-mile-long<br>
and 300-yard wide path of destruction
through the Wood County communities of Millbury and Moline.
The Lake High School project
truly began just
on June 5, 2010,
when a level
EF4 tornado tore a 10-mile-long
and 300-yard wide path of destruction
through the Wood County communities of Millbury and Moline. The entire Lake Local Schools campus was in the storm’s direct path, which destroyed the high school and significantly damaged ten other buildings, including the elementary and middle schools, as well as the athletic complex.
With Lake High School’s graduation ceremony scheduled for the next day, students and community members were anticipating joy, but instead were faced with devastation. Among the storm’s seven fatalities was Ted Kranz, 46, father of Lake High School’s 2010 valedictorian. The Kranz home was among at least 50 homes that were destroyed. Then-governor Ted Strickland declared a state of emergency.
As alumni and parents of students at Lake Schools, Rudolph/Libbe associates shared the community’s heartache, yet also felt a tremendous sense of pride and responsibility when they were selected through an RFQ process for the design/build team to complete the new high school. The project was deeply personal for many at Rudolph/Libbe. “Rudolph/Libbe has been a long-time supporter of Lake Local Schools,” said Brad Deal, vice president of project management. “Many of us at Rudolph/Libbe are graduates of Lake High School and the proud parents of children who attend Lake Schools. Lake Schools had our personal commitment, as well as that of Rudolph/Libbe, to ensure that this was a successful project.”
Toledo-based architectural firm The Collaborative Inc. (TCI) was chosen by Lake Local Schools as the bridging design architect, and Rudolph/Libbe Inc. selected TMP
Architecture, Inc. of Bloomfield Hills, Michigan as the architect of record. All three entities started working rapidly with the district to program and develop a design, produce construction documents, and get the project bid.
Lake High School made history as the first public high school building in Ohio to be constructed as a design/build project. The delivery method unique to schools was permitted under an urgent necessity provision for construction in an emergency situation–and unofficially, Ohio’s first construction reform project. The project is the prototype for newly enacted project delivery methods issued by the State Architect’s Office and outlined in Ohio Construction Reform Bill, H.B.153.
Planning the project
Within 10 days of the tornado, Rudolph/Libbe met with Lake School officials to offer help with the cleanup of the site and the ultimate reconstruction effort. Soon after, TCI and TMP were consulted to help establish the parameters of a new school and brainstorm options to help accelerate the schedule. John Castellana, chairman at TMP, commented, “We were honored to join the Rudolph/Libbe team with TCI and offer our expertise to Lake Schools to help create a new school environment for the Lake community. Our team was committed to meet a very accelerated timeline so that students would be able to experience a new ‘home’ that would help heal the entire community.”
The normal construction delivery process, dictated by the state, was a construction management delivery system that would require a minimum of three years to complete with a new school of this size. School officials felt that was too long for students, parents, faculty and the community to wait.
A consulted attorney cited a section of the Ohio Revised Code that contains an “urgent necessity provision” for construction under emergency situations such as storm damage. Under this provision, the project could be constructed using the design/build delivery method, which has a shorter duration and would allow the new school to open its doors to students in the fall of 2012.
Security and cleanup
Cleanup of the school campus covered nearly 1 million square feet. About 1,000 tons of material were scattered in a half-mile radius from the high school. Inside the building, glass doors and windows were shattered, and debris was piled inside the building by the tornado.
Securing the site, clearing walkways and creating locations to deposit debris were essential steps to ensure that hundreds of volunteers could safely participate in the cleanup. A fencing contractor was onsite within days to install a security fence. Another ongoing task for the team was helping the school with media relations--designating safe areas
for photos, videos and interviews, as reporters from around the country arrived on site.
The original Lake High School was built in 1953, with additions in the 1970s, 1980s and in 2005. Much of the original 1953 structure, with its cast-in-place concrete decks and reinforced block walls, was intact. However, there was severe damage to the steel structures of the additions.
After a review process, the school’s insurance carrier approved the demolition of the entire building. With total demolition approved, design work began for a new high school and ground was broken in February 2011. The school district’s goal was to open the new school in fall 2012, giving the project team an 18-month fast-track schedule to
design and build the new school.
Designing and building
While the insurance coverage amount was still being determined, design work began. The challenge was to design a building that addressed the school’s current needs, stayed within the budget and met the tight schedule.
Financing was not typical for a school project. There was no bond issue and no taxpayer dollars. Final insurance negotiations would pay up to $19.1 million, with another $4.8 million in funding from the state of Ohio School Facilities Commission and a $500,000 donation from the 2010 Kohl’s Cares contest.
The project team worked directly and closely with school officials to set an aggressive schedule. Approvals and answers were obtained quickly and directly from the owner, while project team members met with the owner at least once a week during the design and construction phase.
3D CAD models were used during preconstruction/design
development to allow the owner to visualize and experience design
concepts, evaluate value-engineering ideas and make decisions expeditiously. The HVAC contractor’s coordination drawings included the routing of their ductwork and piping along with the fire-suppression piping, plumbing lines, electrical mains, light fixtures and technology pathways. This process minimized conflicts during construction and allowed masons to construct the walls with ductwork openings in place.
Heavily reinforced, grouted block walls were used throughout the building as an extra measure to strengthen the structure against future tornados. Four classrooms and the weight/fitness room are designated as “Tornado Refuge” areas which have no exterior exposures. In addition, internal braced walls with carbon fiber masonry lintels served two purposes: to hold the walls in place during construction, and to add strength in the event of future tornadoes.
The school’s large roof plane had created 10,000 square feet of shell space on the second floor of the academic wing to accommodate potential future classrooms. The use of rooftop units allowed for a much smaller mechanical room, saving space,
dollars and freeing square footage for other uses.
The high school’s kitchen serves as the food preparation area for the entire district. It therefore needed to be oversized to accommodate necessary equipment, food storage and freezer/cooler space. The dining area is shared between the high school and middle school and also functions as an auxiliary gymnasium. The kitchen’s coiling doors and dining area displays are protected by gymnasium divider curtains. Batting cages and basketball equipment retract into the overhead space. The multi-use athletic floor is suitable for both the dining area and gymnasium.
The school’s curved metal roof was designed to suggest “wingmen” flyers, as the school mascot is the Flyers. The curved wing concept with radius ceiling panels is carried into the “runway,” or main corridor. The gymnasium is on one side of the runway, while the auditorium and classrooms are located at the east end of the hall on the other side. Dan Tabor, principal with TCI, remarks, “The design inspiration incorporated elements from the existing middle school and organizes the interior spaces along the central runway space.”
The second-story media center features a bump-out projection that forms an exterior canopy for student access from the bus loop. Large windows on three sides afford the media center a large amount of natural light and create an inviting space similar to that of a coffeehouse or college “hangout” lounge.
Four science rooms are equipped with student lab tables and fume hoods. The teacher’s demo desk includes electronic controls to raise and lower the desk, based on the teacher’s preference. The school has WIFI, standard network connections and interactive projectors in each classroom.
The weight room, which was previously housed in the middle school, has been relocated to the high school’s new fitness/weight center, which includes a locker room, athletic training room, and whirlpool with ice tub.
The gymnasium, slightly larger than the original, has the same capacity but is in compliance with current building occupancy codes. Arena-style seating in the school colors is used to place fans on all four sides of the gym, and patrons can easily move behind the stands, which are inset from the wall, to visit concession stands without blocking views of the action. South-facing translucent panels allow natural light into the gymnasium without creating glare. Bleachers on all four sides create a more “intimate” setting for athletic events with the flexibility of having fewer bleacher seats when events warrant.
The high school auditorium features high-tech lighting and sound for an enhanced learning environment for theater students. The auditorium has fixed seating for 417 but has space for another 100 people in flexible seating arrangements.
The new school includes a Lake Flyers Hall of Fame showcase in the runway outside the gymnasium. To create a more interesting space, exterior design features were brought inside. Brick soldier course banding, brick columns and brick wainscoting, as well as a cast stone “LAKE FLYERS HALL OF FAME,” highlight this special area. The school includes many other elements designed to reflect Lake Flyer pride. School logos are embedded in the floors, and school
colors are displayed throughout the facililty.
The new building provides a glassed-in “lookout” point from the academic wing into the runway that provides a vantage point of the curve of the “wing” in the runway and allows administrators to supervise students in the runway.
Computerized night controls can be programmed to turn lights off and on at certain times. Controls for mechanical systems have been evaluated campus-wide, and controls installed in the high school are compatible with future campus-wide integration. The high school system will allow district personnel to remotely monitor the high school and potentially, with future upgrades at other buildings, allow them to remotely monitor the entire campus.
The project, which began following the tragic night of June 5, 2010, was completed within two years. In May 2012, school officials moved into their new building. Under the CM delivery system, they would have waited three years or longer, but the design/build delivery method gave them the high-tech, cost-efficient high school they wanted – in just 18 months.
The school’s opening was eagerly anticipated by students, staff, parents and community members. Although the tornado’s effects will never be forgotten, the new school will play an important role in the healing of a community. The beautiful building stands as a symbol of
resilience and the bright future that lies ahead for the people of Lake Township. BXM
June Remley represents Rudolph/Libbe.
LAKE HIGH SCHOOL
Architects: The Collaborative, TMP Architects
GC: Rudolph/Libbe, Inc.
Cost: $25.7 million
S. A. Comunale
Farnham Equipment Company
Breckenridge Kitchen Equipment