Turner Construction Completes D.C. School

Staff | September 28, 2010

Turner Construction Company has completed the $63-million renovation of the Phelps Architecture, Construction and Engineering High School in Washington, D.C., transforming an abandoned historic school building into a state-of-the-art learning center with a special focus on the architecture, construction and engineering arts. The Phelps Architecture, Construction and Engineering High School is the only one of its kind in the United States and is the first District of Columbia Public School designed to receive a LEED for Schools Silver Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. Green features include solar water and solar power components, geothermal features and wind turbines in the career technology training bays. The school's greenhouse features computer-controlled window shades and watering systems so that students can see the latest in energy efficiency and water conservation practices.

The scope of work for the project included the phased modernization of three previously abandoned school buildings encompassing a total of 148,000 square feet. The first phase included upgrading and modernizing the 1960 high-bay areas of the old Phelps building. The second phase included renovations to the 1934 building, which now contains 24 classrooms and a 17,000-square-foot administrative wing. The third phase focused on the 1971 addition to the building and includes a gym, cafeteria, auditorium, greenhouse, and horticulture labs.

The design concept for much of the project was to draw the students' attention to the various building components and systems that make up the building to actually experience what they are learning. The ceiling pipes in parts of the school are exposed and color-coded as in typical commercial construction so that the students can follow the paths of the electrical wires, plumbing lines and sprinkler system. The public commons area includes a concrete floor composed of concrete sections finished with various concrete techniques and pre-cast concrete columns with exposed connection plates and exposed bolted connections.

"Turner is proud to have served as the builder of this 'green' school project that provides a wonderful learning environment for the students served by the District of Columbia Public School System," said Chris Jahrling, vice president and general manager of Turner's Washington, D.C. operations.