Bullis’ Discovery Center

A project that saw the arts and sciences linked through technology and learning opportunities.

SizeScheduleTargeted Occupancy DateOccupancy Date
70,000 SF24 MonthsAugust 2017August 29, 2017

The Dr. Gerald L. Boarman Discovery Center is a 70,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art educational building in the new heart of the Bullis campus. The Discovery Center is designed to enhance learning, creativity, and exploration for every student while allowing the School to maintain small classes and expand available classroom space on campus. The design’s transparent architecture, with views to a grand stair and second-floor Innovation Lab, signifies the exciting activities occurring within. Learning, creativity, and exploration are enhanced through an environment that is open and flexible to foster collaboration and the exchange of ideas.

Significant features of the Dr. Gerald L. Boarman Discovery Center include:

  • A Fabrication Lab or “Fab Lab,” modeled after MIT laboratories, includes dedicated spaces for metal working, robotics, woodworking, and digital production.
  • Telepresence classrooms with state-of-the-art video conferencing equipment to bridge time and distance allows students to be in contact with experts off-campus and around the world.
  • Tools such as 3D printers, laser printers, and CNC routers will provide options for all students to engage in scientific inquiry, exploration, and fabrication.
  • A versatile multi-use studio theater with movable seating for 225-person audiences to attend lectures, shows, ceremonies, exhibits, and conferences.
  • A Student Center containing a greatly expanded School Store, full service café and kitchen, and seating to provide ample study, meeting, and conversation spaces for classes and groups.
  • A rooftop terrace for classes, special events, and social gatherings.

The Bullis School’s commitment to their student experience was reinforced by a joint investment in their sports program across all grades. The Discovery Center Project also included a new turf field replacing an existing grass field to be used for lacrosse, field hockey and soccer games, as well as football practices. The new all-weather field ensures student safety during practices and games and included LED lights, new scoreboards, and sound system.

The Challenge

The Concrete Contractor installed lightweight concrete on the roof level in lieu of normal-weight concrete providing less sound isolation performance for a given thickness. The building Energy Recovery Unit (ERU) was designed to sit directly above the new building’s Studio Theater making the sound isolation performance of the roof assembly a critical component in achieving suitably quiet noise levels inside the finished space. The General Contractor proposed removing the poured concrete deck and requiring the Subcontractor to replace it with the originally specified concrete. This remedial work would likely push the project completion date past the start of the new school year.

The Solution

Blake Real Estate worked with the Project Architect and Acoustician of Record to design a remediation solution allowing the poured concrete to remain in place without delaying the completion date. This effort resulted in superior sound attenuation of the ERU at no cost to the Owner. This collaborative solution enabled the Project to remain on schedule and allowed planned activities elsewhere on the project to continue while the residual repairs were being completed.