Carlos Rosario

International Public Charter School

SizeScheduleDelivery DateCost
49,000 SF12 monthsSummer 2013$24.1 Million

This project involved the demolition of an existing warehouse and construction of a special use three-story plus basement building including 15,000 square feet of commercial kitchen space with $2 million of cooking equipment. The project included state-of-the-art audio/visual systems, an IT training facility, and specialized classrooms geared to vocational training. This project was financed with New Market Tax Credits and a grant from the DC Office of the State Superintendent for Education. The project exceeded the owner’s 35% CBE participation requirements and achieved LEED Gold certification.

The Challenge

Due in part to a grant from the DC Government, school administrators came under intense political pressure to open the building to show progress was being made with public funds. The largest obstacle to the timely completion of the work was the difficult existing conditions at the site. Hazardous materials in an existing building to be demolished, poor soils, existing subsurface improvements, uncharted utilities, and the discovery of a historic headstone all contributed to unexpected challenges to the schedule. Quickly developing clear, innovative, and cost-effective options for approval by the design team as each situation arose was absolutely critical if the schedule for occupancy was to be maintained.

The Solution

“Conditions at the site turned out to be far worse than we had anticipated. Even with substantial subsurface investigation we were still surprised by old foundations, railroad tracks, and deep pockets of unsuitable soils. Working directly with the general contractor and trade contractors, the Blake team came up with precise recommendations to mitigate the effects of these conditions. Innovative ideas including the use of helical piles, re-sequencing construction activities, specialized testing and inspection procedures, and reconfiguring retaining wall foundations were among the alternatives proposed by the Blake team. Each idea included options, cost and schedule impacts, and a specific recommendation on how to proceed. The quick turnaround of these recommendations along with a clear and concise presentation of the impact for each option allowed us to make rapid decisions and keep the project on track. These solutions were immediately put in place, monitored for compliance, and effectively administered by the Blake team for strict compliance with the procedures we approved.”

Salo Levinas, Principal, Shinberg-Levinas Architects