Best Interiors/Tenant Improvement: Adaptive Reuse and Renovation for Avenues: The World School

The first of more than 20 special pre-K to 12-grade schools planned worldwide, the $51.9-million Avenues: The World School in Manhattan was adapted from an old, historic warehouse. The 10-floor, 200,000-sq-ft structure that sits directly on the High Line park houses four distinct schools serving 1,600 students. Each two-story school maintains its own identity while connecting to the others at discrete locations.

The project called for extensive building modifications for features such as large cuts in the concrete floor system to create visual floor-to-floor connections and a monumental central staircase. The team raised the majority of the roof to allow for a basketball court, a recreation area and mechanical spaces. It also removed a leaking 10,000-gallon-underground oil tank and handled the resulting environmental cleanup.

The refurbishment of the landmark facade included restoring the original copper entrance doors and light fixtures as well as period-appropriate gates. All exterior windows were upgraded to meet current energy and noise code standards.

There were major challenges initially in site selection for the school, and programmatic design and funding hurdles took longer than expected. This resulted in a compressed overall schedule to meet a completion goal in time for the 2012 school year and made a standard design-bid-build model untenable, according to the submitter's entry form.

As a result, the construction team collaborated with the designers to phase the purchasing of early critical trades and long-lead-time equipment such as elevators, chillers, air handlers, switchgear, windows, demolition and structural steel. The master project schedule was developed for design, purchasing and all phased-construction activities and was shared with stakeholders. The result was that the 15-month project was delivered on time.

The phased-purchasing solution caught the attention of Best Projects judges, who also noted the project's scope. One judge said the team "did a good job of turning [a warehouse building] into a comfortable-looking place."

Adaptive Reuse and Renovation for Avenues: The World School, New York

Key Players

Owner Avenues World Holdings LLC

General Contractor/Structural, Civil and MEP Engineer STV

Lead Designer Perkins Eastman

Mechanical Contractor Pyramid Air Conditioning

Plumbing Contractor Bletsa Plumbing

Electrical Contractor Lippolis Electric Inc.

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