The construction team working on the new Hollis T Dietz Elementary school in Crandall’s Heartland Community, have made tremendous progress over the holiday months at the end of 2016. The building’s foundation and floor slab have been completed, and the steel structure over all but one classroom wing is finished.
The three parking lots serving the building are in place, lacking only the connecting driveways. And the city streets fronting the school property, Sunnybrook Drive and Cassinia Parkway, are now paved and being used by the construction workers and for material delivery to the site.
Over half of the building is enclosed by the metal roof deck, and the roofing system is being placed on the tall gymnasium volume and the lower roof of the kitchen.
As workers up high continue with the installation of decking and roofing, workers below are constructing both the interior and exterior metal stud walls. The center section of the building, including the gymnasium, cafeteria, and kitchen, is the furthest along, and is already enclosed with the yellow sheathing that will provide the backing for the brick and stone veneer that will clad the building.
The northern classroom wing is the furthest from completion, but will rapidly match the rest of the building’s progress. The major components of the steel frame are all in place, soon to be followed by the roof joists and decking.
Right now, only steel columns and plumbing penetrations in the floor can be seen in the wide open space of the classroom wing. In a short time, however, the individual classrooms and the two parallel corridors that fill this area will take shape as the erection of metal wall framing continues.
Soon the building will be dried in, with the roof complete and exterior walls in place. Then the focus of activity will be on the exterior masonry walls and the finish of the interior spaces.
WRA Architects and Gallagher Construction share the excitement of Crandall Independent School District, and the residents of the Heartland Community, as the new Hollis T. Dietz Elementary School moves ever closer to completion.
Washington Heights Elementary School is a replacement school located in Northside Fort Worth, on the south side of West Long Avenue, between Clinton Avenue and North Houston Street. The location of the existing underground school and parking lot required that the new school building be located in the current playﬁeld area, at the north end of the site. Meacham International Airport is northwest of the school, across the street from Long Avenue.
Washington Heights ES serves grades Pre-K through 5th, including 21 standard classrooms, in addition to an assortment of special use rooms, allowing for a maximum capacity of 500 students. The building is organized around an 'equator' line (main corridor), dividing the school between public spaces on the south, and private spaces on the north. Public spaces include the administration, gymnatorium, cafeteria and library. The gymnatorium and cafeteria have direct access to the playgrounds and fenced-in playﬁelds. Multiple south-facing canopies provide outdoor shade cover for teachers near the playgrounds. The private spaces, or grade-level classrooms, are located along the north side of the building to take advantage of the north light.
The proximity of the airport to the school made classroom acoustics a top priority for Fort Worth ISD and WRA Architects. The classrooms respond to this concern by rotating clockwise, turning windows away from the airport. The west walls of the building limit windows to a bare minimum, and are solid masonry to keep much of the noise outside.
Positioned on a compact 3.8 acre site, the footprint was minimized through the design of a two story scheme, an underground storm detention system and head-in on-street parking. This allowed more play fields and playgrounds on the south end of the site as well as conserving the existing parent-funded playground.
The two-story school design, solar orientation, natural day-lighting in all classrooms and high-efficiency HVAC system with energy monitoring allow for a significant decrease in energy consumption.