Student Safety During School Construction at the Center for Early Education
Constructing state-of-the-art private school facilities and green space
The Center for Early Education is a nationally recognized leader in early childhood and elementary education. Helping children find joy in the learning process is central to CEE’s mission.
In service to that mission, CEE has embarked on a campus expansion to bring a gymnasium, state-of-the-art lower elementary school classrooms, and the school’s first green space to the 75-year-old campus. To realize this plan, CEE acquired five adjacent properties, and is now demoing the existing structures next door to a campus of 538 students.
Partnering on the details
CEE is partnering with MATT Construction for this redevelopment. “As early as possible, it’s important to plan our work to minimize the impact to the students, staff, and community, and to collectively agree on the plan,” says Jason Mosier, Senior Project Manager for MATT Construction. “Specifically with private school construction, it’s best to have all stakeholders involved – administration, facilities, operations, technology – each has a different set of concerns and it’s important to understand them before we create and distribute our work plan. After understanding the concerns, we can then review the details and finalize a plan which reduces the overall impact.”
One key detail on this project was working out the logistics of haul routes: Given the school’s location at the busy corner of La Cienega Blvd and Melrose Ave, there is only one usable 30-foot-wide residential street to reach the Phase 3 site – a corridor shared daily with over 800 students arriving at local schools.
Protecting students during demo
When doing demo around small, curious people, safety is paramount. To protect the students, MATT not only halts work during high-traffic times whenever possible, they provide full-time safety monitors, fencing and temporary barriers.
“We used BIM to model the campus and pathways so CEE clearly understood what the temporary barriers would look like,” says Jason. With demo comes dust. A lot of dust. In addition to fencing, MATT put up dust screens, walkway canopies, and will also be completely wrapping some buildings. Additionally, MATT uses a misting system to keep dust down. The system is more effective and requires less water than traditional hoses, which brings it nicely in line with the project’s green building initiative.
Mitigating health concerns over dust
MATT reports planned activity for the week ahead to CEE for distribution to parents and staff so teachers have a clear understanding of the discussed impacts and expectations. They can also modify their instruction as needed and use construction as a learning experience.
CEE communicates its schedule as well so that MATT can plan its work around the school’s event calendar – there was no dust in the air this year for the school Olympics or Grandparents’ Day.