Billy Earl Dade Middle School is a three-story, 211,000-sq-ft environmentally sustainable school in Dallas. The $36-million facility was designed and constructed according to environmental standards developed by the Texas Collaborative for High Performance Schools.

Photo by Chris Cooper
Billy Earl Dade Middle School

The entire process was completed in less than 10 months. A school of this size would typically take 15 months or more to build.

Satterfield & Pontikes Construction led a team of more than 60 subcontractors and specialty trades, directing as many as 360 jobsite workers per day to meet the highly compressed schedule.

The scope of work included 12 acres of site preparation, drilling 734 geothermal wells and building the school.

Before construction could begin, approximately 10 city blocks of streets, utility infrastructure and buildings had to be demolished and removed. Much of the underground utility infrastructure was 100 years old, so the location of many components was unknown and unmarked. The team often encountered grade beams, old foundations and gas lines that created additional work and further squeezed the schedule.

Managing the crowded site also was challenging for the construction team. Early in the project, six pier-drilling rigs worked inside the building pad; geothermal well-drilling rigs operated outside the pad; utility contractors excavated around it; and crews installed the forms and rebar for concrete grade beam pours.

At the same time, 12-in. concrete slabs were being poured in the area, and two cranes placed structural steel as another crane positioned the cast-in-place concrete components.

Concrete curing time presented another challenge. The normal five to seven days needed for curing would not work for this project because it would have jeopardized on-time completion. A new product with faster curing properties, never before used in Texas, was selected. By cutting the curing time almost in half, the construction schedule was reduced by 30%.

The project team also implemented a phased scheduling system, allowing for multiple parts of the project to be done concurrently.

The overlapping schedule required a high degree of coordination, but an extensive and elaborate level of planning helped to keep construction on schedule.

Key Players

General Contractor Satterfield & Pontikes Construction Inc., Irving, Texas

Owner Dallas Independent School District, Dallas

Lead Design Kell Munoz/KAI Texas, San Antonio

Structural Datum Gojer Engineers, Austin, Texas

Civil Pacheco Koch Consulting Engineers, Dallas

MEP HRE Inc., Dallas

Program Manager Parsons, Dallas