Canyon View High School
Waddell, Ariz.

Owner/Developer: Agua Fria Union High School District
Lead Design Firm: DLR Group
General Contractor: Chasse Building Team
Subcontractors: Universal Piping; Stone Cold Masonry; Pueblo Mechanical; Progressive Roofing; Pete King; Schuff Steel

Canyon View High School is an innovative teaching and learning accelerator. The 237,000-sq-ft school is also the nerve center for district-wide professional development. Building the school was an exercise in how architecture and innovation can influence educational outcomes. The design incorporates key engineering strategies that reflect the Agua Fria Union High School District’s goal of creating buildings that are also teaching tools. The result is a high school that focuses on energy efficiency, daylighting and outdoor learning spaces.

Contractor Chasse Building Team won the project in February 2018 with a mandate to finish by July 2019. Actual construction began upon approval of building permits in September 2018, leaving only 10 months to complete the work.

In response to the tight timeline, Chasse Building Team created two independent project teams—each consisting of a superintendent, a project manager and engineers—to focus the work for each group. Additional teams were then formed based upon primary tasks—for example, the steel team and the masonry team. In turn, the two main teams scheduled the trades working on each segment and promoted healthy competition in the field.

To further promote efficiency, the teams also adopted lean building principles. After creating a 4D schedule and holding pull-planning sessions, the concrete and masonry contractors suggested altering the structural sequence on two of the five masonry buildings to save six weeks on the schedule. The new approach was to go vertical with the masonry before pouring the slab on two buildings. By doing so, the labor-limited crews could do their work without waiting for other trades to finish.

The load-bearing masonry walls for the large volume areas are aesthetically pleasing but also serve as an efficient thermal barrier. The structural-steel educational buildings form flexible academic “forts,” creating high volumes for daylighting and extensive shading for the outdoor spaces. One of the forts is also engaging in research on the effectiveness of bio-phase change materials. Also known by its patented name, BioPCM, bio-phase change materials are substances that absorb and then release large amounts of thermal energy while melting and freezing. 

In 2008, experimental work on the construction applications of BioPCMs was carried out by Arizona Public Service in collaboration with Phase Change Energy Solutions. The experimental setup showed maximum energy savings of about 30%. Energy savings in the BioPCM fort at Canyon View High School is expected to be about 50%.

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