Atwater Valley is an alternative school that caters to the diverse needs of at-risk students, and it makes sense that a non-traditional school should have a non-traditional design. After leasing office space nearby commerce center for years, Merced County decided it was time to build dedicated space that could meet the needs of the school, except they needed to complete it in 6 months in time for the 2011-12 academic year. The school district turned to Gen7 Schools, who builds prefabricated, state-of-the-art, high performance, green classrooms. The new school opened at the end of September and is now a 22,000 square foot, sustainable, solar powered campus.
The new Atwater Community Day School is composed of a four-wing classroom building, administrative offices, art and science labs. The campus was specially designed to integrate educational, recreational and vocational facilities to fit the unique needs of 200 high school students, plus 30 sixth through eighth graders. Normally designing and building a special needs campus like this would take a bit of time, but Merced County and Gen7 were able to design, fabricate and install the entire school in just 6 months.
As for energy efficiency, the prefab school makes use of state-of-the-art mechanical and ventilation systems combined with innovative smart lighting, daylight harvesting, a well-insulated building envelope, and a cool roof. One of the buildings features a sun-shading photovoltaic system that generates energy for the school, while the rest feature a metal shade device to minimize solar heat gain. Gen7 Schools is a division of American Modular Systems and this is their first entire school campus. Despite that, they were able to achieve a 60% reduction in build time compared to traditional construction!
“Gen7 was the ideal solution for us, setting the standard for environmental design, performance and ease of maintenance. The facility will function at a higher level and so will the students, in bright, comfortable classrooms with better lighting, top-notch acoustics and a modern appearance,” says Terry Ruscoe, Director of Support Services with the County. “We anticipate at least 30 percent savings in utility costs and expect the buildings will have a 50-year lifespan, like conventional school construction.”
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