Across the nation, school districts and college campuses are investing in the construction of new buildings, as well as modernizations, upgrades, repairs, and renovations to aging public education infrastructure.
The overall condition of schools is cause for concern. According to the latest Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, published in 2013, K-12 school infrastructures received a D.
“Almost half of America’s public school buildings were built to educate the baby boomers; a generation that is now retiring from the workforce,” the report reads. “Public school enrollment is projected to gradually increase through 2019, yet state and local school construction funding continues to decline. National spending on school construction has diminished, while the condition of school facilities continues to be a significant concern for communities.”
Navigating this situation is complicated. It challenges communities and campuses to consider innovative and forward-thinking options.
Lake County Schools Repairs and Maintenance
When Lake County Schools in Central Florida had water systems go down in five different schools last summer, Frank Gay Services, a full-service plumbing, electrical, heating and air conditioning company was hired to fix the problem.
Utilizing Viega was an obvious choice for this job, where workers changed out hot water systems, installed new boilers, and reconnected the piping. According to Thomas, each system was replaced in about two to three days, which saved significant time.
“There’s a lot of prep work when you solder,” Thomas said. “You don’t have to do that with ProPress. You pre-fit it, and then you actually leave it in place. When you’re going through piping it, everything gets pressed as you’re going. It cuts it down to a third of the time that it would have been to solder.”
There are also times when press systems have allowed Frank Gay Services employees to complete work with minimal disruption in a way not possible with soldering.
“At the school, if there’s a leak someplace, you can’t shut the water off in the school while the kids are there,” Thomas said. “We can cut the line if it’s going to a smaller portion, press a valve on, isolate what we’re working on, and get that repair done in a timely manner.”
New Construction of Rancho Campana High School
In Camarillo, CA, where temperatures average between 65 and 75 degrees year round, the Oxnard Union High School District decided that utilizing radiant heating would be the most efficient choice for the district’s newest high school.
Smith Electric, an electric, mechanical, plumbing, and general construction contractor based out of Santa Maria, CA, was awarded the job and installed Viega Rapid Grid with ViegaPEX Barrier tubing throughout each classroom, with each controlled independently.
“Where we live, we have amazing weather. We don’t really have seasons here,” Adams said. “When we developed this school, we wanted it to be highly efficient, in that we don’t have air conditioners. When it gets warm, we have a ventilation system that will pull hot air out of the classroom and vents and windows that allow cool air to move in.”
When Smith Electric realized that manifolds could not be placed in the typical, wall-mounted position, they proposed a unique solution. Working with Glumac Engineering, Smith Electric moved forward.
“We came up with the idea of putting the manifolds in the ceiling,” said Kevin Kendall, Superintendent at Smith Electric. “I don’t know what we would have done without Viega. It would have doubled the manpower for sure.”
Redevelopment of Aggie Village Apartments at Colorado State University
On the main campus of Colorado State University (CSU) in Fort Collings, CO, RK Mechanical completed CSU’s largest project to date, a $111 million redevelopment of the outdated Aggie Village Apartments.
The Aggie Village project included studio, one, two, three, and four-bedroom apartments with a total of 973 beds, replacing 145 apartments that were constructed in 1960. Community centers, study lounges, and meeting rooms are also included in the global community.
When it was time to decide what products to use on the project, there were many factors to consider, one of the biggest being that work was to be done in winter. The material matrix specified PEX, but RK Mechanical could choose the manufacturer.
“Viega PEX Press was more advantageous to use during the cold weather than different competitors,” said Rob Dunn, RK Mechanical Senior Project Manager. “You can press it with the press tool, even in cold temperatures.”
“The system is fairly easy to use and quick to install,” added Price. “In one building we used about 20,000 joints.”
Overall, the project included an estimated 300,000 feet of ViegaPEX Ultra tubing. RK Mechanical was grateful for the customer service, technical assistance, training, and quality product that Viega provided.