Project Specs
Owner Archdiocese of New Orleans
Square Footage 51,000
Start Date10/01/2003
Completion Date05/01/2005
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St. Augustine High School Expansion & Renovations

Project Overview

This 51,000 SF, 3-story addition and renovation to an historic New Orleans high school included the following components: faculty lounge, television studio, expanded band room, journalism classroom, foreign language lab, chapel, administrative offices, library, commercial kitchen, cafeteria, business and technology classrooms, laboratories, private residence rooms.

Lessons Learned

The site logistics were very difficult, material deliveries to the new building site dealth with a number of challenges as work progressed in the new business and technology center. There were residences on two sides and the existing school and its parking lot on the other two sides. It made getting steel and cranes in difficult. In addition, a major power line that feeds private homes bordered the school and traversed the construction site. “We had to strategically shut down the power had to be strategically shut down so as not to endanger crane workers during pile driving and steel framing. Equipment access to the parking lot was carefully coordinated since the school was still in session. Because of the new center’s multi-use nature, numerous subcontractor crews worked on different areas of the building, often at the same time. For example, as the subcontractor who framed the first two floors in structural steel worked on finishing the library’s roof, a second subcontractor began the metal stud framing for the third-floor living quarters. Since the work overlapped, material ordering and delivery had to be without error. Different crews installed the electrical and mechanical (AC, plumbing, and duct work) systems. They also did the various finishes, such as painted gypsum ceilings in the library versus acoustic tile ceilings in the classrooms and concrete-block masonry walls in the kitchen and cafeteria versus sheet rock walls for the library and living quarters. McDonnel even coped with the global steel shortage that sent prices soaring by procuring material early, storing it in a warehouse, and then transferring it to the site at just the right time. Despite the challenges, both phases of the St. Augustine expansion progressed smoothly. The project stayed on track, because McDonnel, the architect, and the subcontractors worked together closely, holding regular meetings to discuss and resolve any scheduling issues or conflicts.