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MONTHLY NEWSLETTER:  NOVEMBER 2004 ISSUE

AFFORDABLE SCHOOLS
BY DAN COOK, DCA ARCHITECTS


Economical construction of buildings is paramount to charter school operators. Let’s define what “economical” means and provide some methodologies to meet the criteria. A building is economical only if it meets the following three key criteria:

  • Low cost construction that is at least 25-30% below normal school construction costs.
  • The 20-year building maintenance costs must show a savings over traditional school buildings.
  • The utility costs must be lower than traditional school buildings by at least 30%.
An economical design for a building along with building products purchased on a national-account price basis can greatly reduce costs and assure quality.

As an architect becomes familiar with products used in school buildings, he can better select the finest products at the lowest price. The architect can also control quality and reduce the amount of proposed “equals” that are allowed on the project. Products must be specified that provide very long life to the building as well as reduced maintenance costs. Examples include wall finishes in gymnasiums which never need to be painted; carpet that is guaranteed (including stain removal) for the life of a school; roofing with a 35-year full replacement warranty; and vinyl tile that never needs waxing. The yearly operational budgets for charter school projects can be lowered by reducing the frequency of replacement of many products and by decreasing the costs of janitorial services.

Each product must be specified to reduce energy consumption. It is possible to reduce energy costs by as much as 50% (compared with traditional school designs) with the use of better insulation, high efficiency mechanical (HVAC) equipment, double ballasted lights with energy efficient ballasts, and design elements that significantly reduce exposure of major elements of the building to the weather. For example, when large spaces such as gymnasiums and multi-purpose rooms are placed in the center of the building, the amount of exposure of the exterior walls to the elements is reduced. This results in significant savings in both construction and utility costs.

DCA Architects have many solutions to constructing economical charter schools. We specialize in economical design with an exclusive process known as Affordable Building Concepts. DCA is a leader in the field of economical design and the supply of construction products to the job site on a national basis. We are presently involved in over 1 billion dollars worth of school and church construction throughout the United States.?

For information contact John Cox, Dir. of Business Development, DCA Architects
801-409-1076 jcox@dcagroup.com