Satterfield & Pontikes Construction Inc. took Billy Earl Dade Middle School in Dallas from groundbreaking to completion in less than a year. This $36-million, three-story facility had a team of more than 60 subcontractors and specialty trades, requiring contractor S&P to direct as many as 360 jobsite workers per day to meet the tight schedule. Teams clocked roughly 225,130 man-hours on the 10-month job.

One judge commented that the project had "a very tough schedule, accomplished with quality workmanship." A typical project of this size would allow for 15 to 18 months. However, the building was functioning and move-in was possible after only nine months.

To bring the school to fruition, the project team had to prep the 12-acre site, drill 734 geothermal wells and build the 211,000-sq-ft structure.

Roughly 10 city blocks of streets, utility infrastructure and buildings had to be demolished and removed during site prep. Meanwhile, much of the underground utility infrastructure was 100 years old, making for many unknown and unmarked components.

Teams had to manage site traffic carefully, too, as the S&P team used a phased schedule during construction. For example, in the project's early stages, drilling rigs for the piers were working inside the building pad; drilling rigs for the geothermal wells were working outside the pad; and utility contractors were excavating around the pad. At the same time, crews were pouring 12-in. concrete slabs and installing forms and rebar for concrete grade beam pours; two cranes were placing structural steel; and yet another crane was placing the cast-in-place concrete components. The overlapping schedule required a high degree of coordination, but this extensive and elaborate level of planning helped to keep construction on schedule.

Meanwhile, the usual five to seven days needed for curing concrete couldn't be allotted because of the already constrained schedule. The contractor chose to use a new rapid-drying concrete, a product that hadn't been used before in Texas. This tactic cut the curing time almost in half, reducing the construction schedule by 30%.

The school was completed with an OSHA recordable rate of 0.89. S&P developed a site-specific safety plan that met all federal, state and local requirements, including OSHA standards. To set guidelines for operational safety during construction, this plan also incorporated S&P's Meet or Exceed safety-program requirements and the Dallas Independent School District's safety standards.

Billy Earl Dade Middle School has proved to be a significant step in revitalizing and improving the local area. With its public health clinic for all the residents of this south Dallas community, the school has made an immediate impact. Further, the school is accessible for certain public events, and its sports facilities are available for community use, too.

The project used many unusual construction materials, components and systems. It was designed and constructed according to a mandate by project owner Dallas ISD that new schools meet Texas Collaborative for High Performance Schools (CHPS) environmental standards, the first green-building rating program designed specifically for K-12 schools. Harmful emissions were reduced through the use of low-emitting volatile organic-compound materials, while the landscape irrigation system, with moisture sensors and flow meters, reduced consumption from the city's treated water supply.

Submitted by Satterfield & Pontikes Construction Inc.

Owner Dallas Independent School District

Architect Muñoz and Co.; KAI Texas

General Contractor Satterfield & Pontikes Construction Inc.

Structural Engineer Datum Gojer Engineers

Civil Engineer Pacheco Koch Consulting Engineers

MEP Engineer HRE Inc.

Program Manager Parsons