Edward J. Hopkins Elementary School Modular Classroom Addition
(Click an image below to see enlargement)
Modular Building Design
Gross Size of Project:
- Architectural Excellence
The new addition had to match the look of the existing school building. The exterior design incorporated metal panels skillfully fabricated and painted to mimic the colors and patterns of the brick and stucco finishes of the existing building. Windows that matched the existing building were also incorporated into the design, creating a cohesive appearance when the project was completed. To ensure uniformity between the new and existing classrooms, the design mirrored the 25’ x 28’ dimensions of the existing classrooms by using four 14’ x 60’ modules stacked 2 over 2. The new interiors featured built-in casework, doors, ceilings, floor tiles, and paint that matched the existing classrooms. Color selection was rigorously verified to ensure a true match to the naked eye. Yet even within the confines of these requirements, the school’s teachers provided design input (a welcome but not customary occurrence) to customize the layouts of their classrooms as well as the 100 SF breakout room.
- Technical Innovation & Sustainability
One innovation involved connecting the addition to the existing school was creating a single module that was two stories high (a module turned on its end lengthwise instead of a standard stack of two modules atop each other). At the site, a structural steel riser was inserted on top of the first-story ceiling, raising the floor of the second story to precisely mate with the second-story floors of the existing building and the addition.
Other innovations included Building Information Modeling (BIM) and the “Build Together” method of off-site construction. These methods accelerated the construction process and allowed a full 95% of the project be completed off site. This was critical as the COVID-19 crisis hit just as the project began. Because most of the work was completed away from the school grounds, the new classrooms were ready in time for the start of the fall semester.
- Cost Effectiveness
Budgets are always tight for schools. Happily, the project was able to deliver cost efficiencies with savings on labor due to 95% of the work being completed off site and not under prevailing wage standards in Massachusetts. Also, the innovation of turning a single module unit on its end for the 2-story connecting corridor saved the cost of building and transporting an additional module while helping speed installation on site. This delivered substantial savings.