Builders Convert Office Campus Into New Atlanta High School
Builders of the $90-million North Atlanta High School emphasized team collaboration and the elimination of wasteful processes to deliver the unusual K-12 facility. Despite numerous challenges, JE Dunn and its more than 85 subcontractor and vendor partners successfully transformed an existing corporate office complex into the city's newest high school in time for the fall 2013 semester.
Converting an existing 56-acre corporate campus into a 2,400-student high school required turning an 11-story office tower into a classroom building. The 10-story Hillside building was demolished, creating space for extracurricular functions. The project also included building a 900-space parking deck.
The construction team faced numerous challenges, including unsuitable soils and rocks as well as asbestos remediation, but managed to address all of these without delaying the original project schedule.
In accordance with the contract, JE Dunn delivered the project with a phased turnover—including substantial completion of the classroom building by July 31, 2013, and the adjacent extracurricular building by Nov. 30, 2013.
Due to the unexpected asbestos-related work, JE Dunn wasn't able to achieve substantial completion for the classroom building until July. However, the contractor was able to accommodate the owner's installation and staging of furniture four months earlier, in April 2013.
The largest risk associated with the project was the implosion of the 10-story Hillside Building, which was connected to the 11-story structure by a steel-and-glass sky bridge. To eliminate the sky bridge without damaging the 11-story building, crews first shored the 75-ft post-tensioned concrete beams that reinforced the bridge and then used a mobile crane to deconstruct the supports piece by piece.
JE Dunn mechanically demolished the first 75 ft of the west end of the Hillside Building to provide separation between the two adjacent structures prior to implosion. Following the implosion, crews processed, removed and recycled nine stories of concrete rubble in only eight weeks. Crews sifted the existing soils on site and removed shot rock buried when the complex was constructed.
They then converted the 11-story office building to support academic functions, constructing a series of bi-level learning academies accommodating roughly 600 students each. The academies include a community center and stairway to allow for the free flow of students between the floors.
Upon completion, JE Dunn returned $3.5 million of savings to the project owner, the Atlanta Public School System.
Best K-12 Project - North Atlanta High School, Atlanta
Contractor: JE Dunn Construction, Atlanta
Owner: Atlanta Public School System, Atlanta
Architect: Cooper Carry, Atlanta
Associate Architect: Collins Cooper Carusi, Atlanta