Out with the Old and in with the New
In the Atlanta K-12 marketplace, Balfour Beatty has earned a reputation as an adept builder of complex and award-winning education projects. It was a natural fit when Fulton County Schools engaged Balfour Beatty on the recent C.H. Gullatt Elementary School Replacement, a project that required incredible team alignment, planning and a commitment to Zero Harm.
Proximity and Natural Surroundings Led to Extensive Pre-planning
Because the project site is located on wetlands and adjacent to an existing, fully operational elementary school, the Balfour Beatty team knew that pre-planning would be vital to ensuring a successful outcome. As such, the team hosted a SmartStart™ session to create alignment and establish mutual goals prior to construction. As a part of this process, the team developed a list of milestone activities. Activities that could potentially pose unexpected challenges during the construction process such as permits, drawing revisions, material procurement, health departments inspections, unsuitable soils, abatement of the existing facility and more were closely tracked throughout the project through regular OAC meetings.
Since there were state waters located on the property where the new facility was to be built, the US Army Corps of Engineers required the team to purchase Stream Mitigation Credits before beginning construction. These credits offset any impacts made during construction to the ecosystem.
Coordination Leads to Continuation of Daily Activities for More than 500 Students and Faculty
Balfour Beatty, in close coordination with Fulton County Schools, the school principal, the fire marshal and the architect, worked thoughtfully to devise a comprehensive site logistics and safety plan that minimized disruption and maximized safety, while allowing necessary work to continue on-site during school hours. Together, they developed egress pathways for students, faculty and staff to use in case of a fire emergency. With a heightened focus on the safety of the students and the public, the team devised a security plan that included fencing and cameras with the intent of separating construction work from school activity. They also developed a schedule that minimized noise-producing activities during school hours. With more than 500 students, staff and faculty members carrying out normal school activities in the adjacent facility, the construction team remained sensitive to their surroundings throughout the job.
Keeping the community informed throughout the project remained a priority as the team actively participated in community forums with teachers and parents, answering questions about the construction plans. The same care and forethought were in place when it came time to demolish the existing facility, which was completed swiftly and safety. This thorough planning resulted in overall completion two weeks ahead of schedule.
Built with the Future of Learning in Mind
The resulting 112,000-square-foot facility is one that will stand the test of time. The school was outfitted with cutting-edge technology, including power dropping down from the ceiling, NanaWalls in the art room for flexible space, mechanical shades in the media center and Tectum panels for noise control in the gymnasium. Built to empower students through innovation, the media center offers several technological amenities such as a Collaboration Station, coding, genius bar, robotics lab, Nearpod Station and more. Additional instructional spaces include 54 instructional units, administrative offices, cafetorium, gymnasium, an outdoor courtyard with an amphitheater and a new playground.
Today as faculty, staff, students and even parents walk the halls of Gullatt Elementary, they are proud of their new facility and thankful for Balfour Beatty’s commitment to safe, effective and well-planned project execution.