BASIS Independent McLean
McLean, Va.      
Award of Merit

Owner: HighMark School Development
Lead Design Firm: Perkins Eastman
General Contractor: Gilbane Building Co.
Subcontractors: FB Harding Inc. (Electrical); Capitol Drywall Inc. (Drywall and Ceilings); Dominion Mechanical Contractors Inc. (HVAC/Plumbing)

Repurposing a vacant office building into a private K-12 school turned a drab commercial space into what the project team says will be a dynamic learning space for more than 1,000 students. It also is an example of transforming an unused building into a functional, community asset.

During the nine months of construction, cubicles were turned into classrooms and recreational space, while escalators were replaced with a two-story monumental stair that is designed to serve as a gathering place. A two-story section of office space was reconfigured into a multipurpose room after a robotic jackhammer demolished a portion of the third-floor slab to make way for a new gymnasium.

The project also converted a parking deck into a playground by installing a turf field and playground equipment on the top of the garage. The HVAC system was overhauled and a smoke-evacuation system in the lobby was brought up to code.

Going beyond Occupational Safety and Health Administration requirements, the project included 100% fall protection, a comprehensive hand-protection program and a mandatory safety orientation.

The team credits the design-build process for helping complete client modifications made during design and after the initial guaranteed maximum price was set. The new scope created defined spaces in the building for the lower and upper schools, including separate entrances and drop-off and receiving areas. The team realigned costs to stay within the GMP

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