Rockbridge Elementary School Replacement
Stone Mountain, Ga.
Award of Merit 

Owner: DeKalb County School District
Lead Design Firm: Chapman Griffin Lanier Sussenbach Architects
Program Manager: AECOM
General Contractor: Nix-Fowler Constructors Inc.
Civil Engineer: Breedlove Land Planning Inc.
Structural Engineer: PES Structural Engineers
MEP Engineer: Spurlock & Associates
Foodservice Design & Consulting: Camacho Associates Inc.

Nearly doubling the size of the original 1970s-era Rockbridge Elementary School, the new 119,000-sq-ft, three-story replacement school was constructed on the same site. Designed as a prototype elementary school, it features an outdoor amphitheater to facilitate instruction or group-based projects as well as dedicated computer and science labs. Additionally, the school features flexible “labs” that are smaller than classrooms and can be used for group meetings.

The school project used a prototypical design that had been previously utilized by two counties’ boards of education. Having previously managed three projects using this same prototype, AECOM, the program manager, applied historical project data and root cause analysis to mitigate potential issues. As a result, the project had no contractor-initiated change orders.

The school was built on an eight-acre site surrounded by homes on all sides, and from the very start the project faced protests from neighbors who were worried about noise and disruption. To address those concerns, the contractors and the school district met with neighbors to allay their fears. To gain further acceptance, the project team made efforts to hire workers who lived in the nearby neighborhood.

The project team logged an impressive safety record over the 17-month construction period, achieving zero rates for both recordable incidents and lost-time accidents.