Balfour Beatty scores $100M TX school contract

Dive Brief:

  • The Cleburne (TX) Independent School District has awarded Balfour Beatty US a $100 million contract to perform a 500,000-square-foot renovation and enlargement to Cleburne High School.
  • The scope of work includes sustainable features, such as the maximization of natural light with floor-to-ceiling windows, dimmable lighting, room motion and occupancy sensors, LED lighting and low-flow restrooms. Balfour Beatty will also add a two-story science wing, a career tech center, a two-story classroom wing, a library and an alternative school.
  • Balfour Beatty said it will use BIM, digital plans and Lean construction methods to maximize efficiency in completing the project. The project will break ground this spring and is expected to be finished in time for the 2019-2020 school year.

Dive Insight:

This contract marks the second Texas school district in the last several months that has selected Balfour Beatty to perform a major job. In October, the Highland Park Independent School District in Dallas awarded the company a $110 million contract to renovate an existing facility and build four new elementary schools. The five-year plan has kicked off with the construction of a 100,000-square-foot "swing school" that should be complete later this year. Design and engineering firm Stantec designed all the schools for sustainability and high-performance.

Sustainable design in new school construction and renovations is becoming increasingly popular, particularly with state, local and federal officials pushing for it. As part of the Build BPS (Boston Public Schools) initiative, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh last month announced a $1 billion, 10-year spending program to update city schools. Along with structural upgrades, the schools will also get "21st century classroom" upgrades, such as more energy-efficient systems and new technology.

In January, the Maryland public school system opened its first net-zero energy school in Columbia, MD. The school has 2,000 solar panels powering the school, and they generate at least as much energy as the school uses. Other energy-saving features include insulation, a geothermal heat pump and programmable lights. The federal government has even jumped into the sustainability arena with its Better Buildings Zero Energy Schools Accelerator, which encourages sustainability and energy-efficient design for school buildings.

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