With project architect CSDA Design Group, Nishkian Chamberlain is working on two replacement buildings for the Olive Vista Middle School campus within the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). Originally designated for evaluation in accordance with AB 300 – a bill passed in 1999 to assess K thru 12 school buildings for seismic safety – the gymnasium and multi-purpose buildings were eventually determined to be replaced. Nishkian Chamberlain assisted with a seismic study and full site analysis of both structures in order to obtain Proposition 1D funding to provide a cost benefit for replacement of the two buildings.
Nishkian Chamberlain has recently been involved in a number of exciting education projects throughout the Southern California area. The projects below highlight the variety of work being done by Nishkian Chamberlain in this market sector.
Meadowlark Elementary School is a 71,700 square foot, single story elementary school building located in northwest Bozeman. It is Bozeman’s 8th elementary school and was designed to be similar to previous elementary schools in the district. The Bozeman School District elected to work with the same team that designed and built Hyalite Elementary School in 2009—Prugh & Lenon Architects, general contractor and construction manager Langlas & Associates, and structural engineers Nishkian Monks, PLLC. Meadowlark Elementary School’s floor plan builds on the previous elementary school plans with changes suggested by the staff such as additional storage space, a separate cafeteria, and a separate section for kindergarten classrooms.
Originally constructed as a medical office building, this four-story, semi-circular structure will be the new home to Nova Academy located in Santa Ana, California. In order to meet the increased design criteria required to convert the existing building to a school building, a series of fluid viscous dampers were installed into the structure to supplement the existing pre-Northridge steel moment frame system.
In addition to the SRGP funding put in place late last year to support seismic rehabilitation towards safety in schools (see previous blog post), the state recently passed House Bill 5005 which includes $125M in bonds for grant matching and $175M for seismic upgrading and retrofitting in local K-12 and higher education buildings.
Senate Bill 447 represented the $125M in local bond matching and would run from 2015-2017. It requires that each district provide matching funds from local bonds with minimum matching amounts of $4M or a GO bond amount. The lesser of the two will be used for the match and the maximum amount is $8M.
The new Ophir Elementary School in Big Sky, Montana opened its doors to new students on August 31, 2015. Designed by Prugh & Lenon Architects, the new 50,000 square foot school was constructed by Martel Construction. The new elementary school was the third project since 2007 in which, Nishkian Monks had teamed with Prugh & Lenon Architects and Martel Construction to successfully complete a project on the Ophir School grounds.
Collaborating with CSDA Design Group, the Nishkian Chamberlain team is designing replacement buildings, a gym and a multi-purpose room, for Olive Vista Middle School located within the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). The existing buildings were remaining from a 2003 Building Vulnerability Chart that required seismic strengthening or replacement due to their vulnerability during a major seismic event. Nishkian Chamberlain, assisted with a seismic study and a full site analysis of both structures to obtain Proposition 1D funding. Completion of the study determined two new buildings was the best and most economical solution.
Projects located within LAUSD, go through an arduous approval process by both LAUSD and Division of the State Architect (DSA). While DSA provides design and construction oversight, discussed in a previous blog post, LAUSD evaluates the design for constructability, project execution, and various other departments/services including maintenance and operations, sustainability, estimating, etc.
The SCU Arts and Art History building is a new three story structure with classrooms and studios for faculty and staff at Santa Clara University located in Santa Clara, California. The architectural design was completed by Form4 Architecture Inc. The structure is a traditional steel framed building with buckling restrained braced frames serving as the lateral force resisting system. Notable features include the domed/mansard roof clad in Spanish tile and a custom designed Chihuly sculpture hung over the entrance lobby. The SCU Arts building is one of a several projects where we serve as the structural consultants for Santa Clara University.
Construction on the project has recently begun with Devcon Inc. serving as the contractor. The preconstruction phase began in December 2014 with an emphasis on reducing construction costs with value engineering and coordinating subtle detailing items between architect, contractor, and structural engineering disciplines.
Nestling high in the foothills of Mount Everest lies the village of Phortse, a community of Sherpas working together to develop their village. One of the ongoing community project work is the Khumbu Climbing Center, a project of the Alex Lowe Charitable Foundation. In 2003 the Alex Lowe Charitable Foundation launched the Khumbu Climbing Center to teach basic mountaineering and climbing skills to Sherpas who often make their living guiding on Mount Everest with little or no climbing experience. The climbing center project is being built in honor of Alex Lowe who was widely considered one of the finest all-around mountaineers when he was killed by an avalanche in Pakistan in 1999. The building will be the first structure in this region to be engineered professionally to reduce structural damage from an earthquake and prevent roof collapse due to heavy snow load. Also unique to the region is the building’s passive solar design considerations. The building will be heated entirely by passive heating techniques. The Alex Lowe Charitable Foundation collaborated with the community of Phortse, Montana State University, architect and MSU professor Michael Everts, and structural engineer Ty Monks, P.E., LEED A.P. of Nishkian Monks PLLC in Bozeman, Montana to design and build this new school located in the rural hillsides of Nepal. Once completed, the 3,000-square-foot (279 square meters) building will house classrooms for teaching technical climbing and rescue skills, an indoor training wall, a library, storage room for gears, solar showers, and community center.
Public education in the State of California consists of two systems. One system provides education from kindergarten through grade 12 (K-12) with current enrollment of approximately 6.3 million students. The other system, commonly referred to as “higher education” includes California Community Colleges, California State Universities and the University of California with enrollment of approximately, 2.1 million students. Many of these schools have buildings that were built up to 80 years ago which are still in service and badly in need of modernization and/or repair. Over the years, Nishkian firms have been involved in both new and retrofit construction of California schools throughout the state as well as across the West coast.
Currently, in the City and County of San Francisco, there are over 24,000 children attending private K-12 schools. These schools play a vital role in San Francisco communities and in the education of future generations. As such, the buildings that make up these schools play an important role in protecting students. Private schools in general are held to a lower building code standard than public schools. Plans for public school are required to be reviewed by the Division of State Architect and designed by a licensed structural engineer, while private schools are only designed by a licensed professional engineer. The inspection and material testing requirements are also much more lenient in private school building construction than in public schools. These requirements, coupled with an aging building population, can result in lower seismic safety of private school building.
The Private Schools Earthquake Safety Working Group started meeting in late 2012 to discuss and explore the current state of private school’s building seismic safety. The Working Group was made up of parents, school faculty, engineers, city officials, and concerned citizens who met for over a year to assess the best course of action in regards to the seismic safety of buildings. The Working Group’s recommendation to the City of San Francisco is to implement a mandatory seismic evaluation ordinance for all private schools within the City and County of San Francisco.
The most important asset in the community and for our future is our children. Every parent has a natural apprehension when sending their children off to school each morning. Worrying about their safety in the classroom should not be one those concerns.
The 1933 Long Beach Earthquake was the turning point for seismic design and construction oversight for California public schools. The early evening earthquake in which 120 lives were lost and many school buildings suffered significant damage clearly demonstrated the need for more to be done for our children’s safety in their school buildings. Had the earthquake occurred during school hours it’s thought the fatalities would have been significantly higher! Out of the earthquake though, the California State Legislature passed the Field Act to prevent such scenarios from happening in our schools and provide a framework for designing and constructing better school buildings.
Over the past few decades, earthquake knowledge and understanding has seen significant progress through scientific advancement, research and testing, and investigating the performance and failures of existing structural systems following major earthquakes. This progress has allowed building codes to further evolve by providing stricter requirements and requiring more resilient structural systems for addressing seismic safety in new buildings. Technology has also played a key role by allowing structural engineers to build advanced computer models that predict seismic behavior of buildings more accurately, and produce more robust structural systems for earthquake protection.
New buildings and those constructed more recently have already realized the benefits of this progress, however there are still many existing buildings in use with varying levels of seismic deficiencies that present a risk to life safety depending on the era they were constructed. Despite these issues, most national and local building codes do not require that existing buildings are brought to comply with current code for seismic requirements unless there is a change to the building that triggers a seismic upgrade.