Industry News


HVAC

Georgia Schools Add Ionization Devices to HVAC Systems

The Bibb County School District in Macon, Ga., announced in a press release that it will be adding needlepoint bi-polar ionization devices to the HVAC systems in each of its schools.

Construction

Illinois High School Approves $75M Gym Upgrade

The school board of the New Trier High School Winnetka campus, located in Winnetka, Ill., has unanimously approved plans to construct a new gymnasium. The $75 million project involves demolishing the existing gym, which was built in 1928, and replacing it with a new, state-of-the-art facility better suited for the school’s current size and athletics programs.

Winter storm

Winter Storm

Austin ISD Surveys Damage After Winter Storm

Austin Independent School District (AISD) officials in Austin, Texas, spent last week walking through schools and surveying the aftermath of the recent wave of winter storms. The verdict: Ninety of the district’s 130 schools were affected, and the total damage is estimated at about $15 million.

Renovation

Michigan Regional Theater to Renovate Historic School Building

The Encore Theatre Company, a nonprofit theater group in Dexter, Mich., is raising money to renovate its new performance space—a historic school building downtown.

Smart locker

Campus Facilities

Quadient Nearly Doubles Number of Smart Locker Installations in U.S. During 2020

Quadient has become the second-largest provider of parcel locker solutions worldwide after it reached 13,000 installation sites and more than 600,000 lockers overall during FY2020. During the first nine months of the fiscal year, which ended on Jan. 31, 2021, the company reported a 78% increase in the number of packages delivered to its smart lockers.

Professor Randall Ellingson receives grant from U.S. Air Force

Solar Energy

U Toledo Developing Solar Sheets to Generate Power in Space

The University of Toledo just received a five-year, $12.5 million grant from the U.S. Air Force to develop flexible solar cell sheets for space. The photovoltaic energy sheets will be used to collect solar energy for powering Earth-based receivers or other orbital or aerial instrumentation, such as communications satellites.

Renovations

Oakwood Schools to Receive New HVAC System

One of the only remaining components of the $18 million Oakwood City Schools renovation project in Dayton, Ohio, is the installation of a brand-new HVAC system for the high school/junior high building. Currently, about half of the 97-year-old building is running on a new system, and the other half still uses an outdated, steam-heated network, according to school district Operations Coordinator Todd Scott.

School bus

Transportation

California School District to Install Charging Stations

The Porterville Unified School District (PUSD), located in Tulare County, California, recently placed an order for six new electric school buses. During its Board of Education meeting on Jan. 28, the district also approved plans to install six new electric charging stations.

COVID-19 and Schools

LumAware ClearGuard Desk Guard Shields Students in the Classroom

One of the primary concerns in reopening schools is being able to ensure proper social distancing between students.Guidance from the CDC suggests setting up physical barriers like partitions and sneeze guards in areas where spacing people out remains impractical. Building off of that idea, LumAware recently released a series of desk guards customized for use in the classroom.

Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity

Audits Reveal Cybersecurity Weaknesses in New York School Districts

The Office of the New York State Comptroller has completed audits on three school districts in the state. The audits uncovered that the districts have neglected to follow some crucial cybersecurity policies, leaving them potentially vulnerable to cyberattacks.



Nursing students

University Construction

Florida Higher Ed Institutions to Expand Nursing Education Opportunities

Daytona State College’s Palm Coast campus is set to begin a $4.2-million renovation project that will allow it to expand its nursing program. The college has partnered with DLR Group and Charles Perry Partners, Inc., on the construction that will create teaching facilities to fit an additional 90 nursing students.

Faulkner College of Health Sciences

Renovations

Faulkner U Begins Renovations of New College of Health Sciences

Faulkner University in Alabama is creating a new College of Health Sciences out of a former Burlington Coat Factory building. The work began last summer, after university President Mike Williams announced the planned conversion of a 13-acre shopping center and the empty Burlington building into a facility that would house all of Faulkner’s health science programs.

Flooring

Mohawk Group Set to Achieve WELL Health-Safety Rating

Mohawk Group, a producer and distributor of commercial flooring, announced in a press release that all of its design studios and commercial showrooms are set to receive a WELL Health-Safety Rating, as determined by the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI). Mohawk is among the first flooring manufacturers to meet this standard.

Energy

NY School District, Ameresco Partner for Energy Efficiency Renovations

Ameresco, Inc. (a clean technology integrator focusing on renewable energy and energy efficiency) announced that it was chosen from a competitive process to provide its services to Nyack Public Schools in Orangetown, New York. The contract lays out an energy savings agreement over 18 years, including photovoltaic solar and guaranteed savings to the district across the full duration.

Touchless water fountain

Campus Facilities

Schools Give Water Fountains the Touchless Treatment

Alongside investments in personal protective equipment, sanitation stations and distancing shields, some schools are earmarking a portion of their federal CARES Act funding to replace their water fountains with touchless versions that don't need continual cleaning.

University of Wisconsin-Platteville Solar Array

Energy

UW-Platteville to Build 2.4MW Solar Array

The University of Wisconsin-Platteville has received approval from the state to erect a 2.4-megawatt solar array on its campus. According to the university, this will be the largest solar array owned by a Wisconsin state agency and will make the campus the sixth-highest on-site producer of renewable energy in the country among institutions of higher education.

Digital rendering of school

COVID-19 and Schools

Matterport Virtual Tours Help Schools Plan Reopening Procedures

Matterport virtual tours offer the means to help schools set up a reopening plan and relay that information effectively. The technology lets schools create a virtual, 3D rendering of the entire campus. With this digital model in place, officials can get a fuller view of how students use the space, the changes that need to be made, and where to implement them.

KWK Construction Project

Renovation

Washington U School of Medicine Undertakes Printing Warehouse Repurpose

A project to reconsider how space was used for medical education that began six years ago is progressing at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. KWK Architects has repurposed a 7.8-acre industrial site and warehouse off-campus into new office space for the school.

Open-air classrooms

COVID-19 and Schools

Schools Consider Return to Open-Air Classrooms

Solutions to modern problems sometimes find their roots in the past. During the tuberculosis epidemic in the early 20th century, many U.S. schools used open-air classroom designs to prevent the virus’ spread among students. Now, during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, schools are once again turning to this model to allow students the fresh air and proper ventilation necessary for a healthy learning environment.

Transportation

School Bus Miles Dropped by 40% in 2020

Remote learning has had a dramatic impact on the number of miles school buses drove in the past year. According to Synovia Solutions, school buses reduced their miles by 40% in 2020, a total of two billion fewer school bus miles during the year.

COVID-19 and Schools

CDC's Ultraviolet Light Disinfectant Guidelines Can Help Schools Reopen

One of the nation’s top priorities is to be able to safely reopen schools for in-person learning. The CDC has recently recommended ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI) as a means for disinfecting shared spaces, especially those where ventilation is limited. UVC (ultraviolet-C) light has been proven to help deactivate SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

New Mexico State University solar project construction

University Construction

New Mexico State University Solar Project Begins Construction

Construction of a new solar project at New Mexico State University began this week. The university has partnered with El Paso Electric (EPE) on the initiative that they call Aggie Power, which should be sufficient to power about one-third of the 900-acre NMSU campus in Las Cruces.

Warming centers

Winter Storm

Universities Offer Warming Stations to Those Without Power

A series of winter storms blew through the U.S., bringing record-breaking low temperatures and leaving millions without electricity. In response, many universities are setting up warming stations to give both students and the community at large a place to take refuge against the cold.

University of Virginia

COVID-19 and Schools

University of Virginia Combats COVID-19 Outbreak

The University of Virginia reported 121 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, Feb. 15, and 229 new cases on Tuesday, Feb. 16. The university has announced a new set of health and safety regulations that are set to last through at least Friday, Feb. 26.

Weather

Winter Storm Forces Texas School Closures

The winter storm that blew through Texas this weekend brought up to six inches of snow and below-zero wind chills, and it has left hundreds of thousands without electricity. Accordingly, many school districts around the state have announced campus closures for Tuesday, Feb. 16, and beyond.

Virtual Learning

Despite Virtual Learning, P.E. Class is Still in Session

Gym teachers at U.S. schools nationwide are adapting their curricula to help remote learners stay active.

New School Construction

Charter School Set for Construction on Florida College Campus

The construction of Pinecrest Lakes Academy Middle/High School, a Florida charter school, is set to begin this year on the campus of Lake-Sumter State College in Clermont, Florida. The school is scheduled to open its doors to students in August 2022.

Health Policy

CDC Releases Updated Guidance Plan for Reopening Schools

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released an updated guide on how K-12 schools around the country can take steps to safely reopen—for good.

U Richmond Offsets 100% of Electricity with Solar

Research Projects

Morehead Takes Delivery of Second Space Antenna

Morehead State University in Kentucky has taken delivery of a second space antenna. The 12-meter tracking antenna was delivered to the university by NASA Deep Space Network operated by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. There, it will serve as satellite tracking station for low Earth orbiting (LEO) satellite mission support and as a training facility for students studying in the space systems engineering, astrophysics and astronomy programs.

Purdue Concrete Sensors Could Speed Construction Onsite

Construction Technology

Purdue Concrete Sensors Could Speed Construction Onsite

Engineering researchers at Purdue University have come up with sensors that can determine concrete strength onsite in real-time, and they're testing it right on campus. The hope is that the technology will help builders speed up their construction timelines safely.

Campus Transportation

Harvard Buys Electric Shuttles

Harvard University has invested in four electric buses, representing nearly a third of its fleet. The vehicles will replace four similarly-sized bio-diesel vehicles already operating on campus. Each of the new buses, from Proterra, is 35 feet long (similar in size to the current buses), has a seating capacity of 29 and runs on a 450-kWh battery.

U Kentucky College of Design Shares Plans for Tobacco Warehouse Renovation

Renovation

U Kentucky College of Design Shares Plans for Tobacco Warehouse Renovation

The University of Kentucky has revealed the plans for its new College of Design (CoD). The institution intends to renovate a century-old tobacco warehouse and turn it into a "vibrant and interactive learning space for design students." The design was done by Studio Gang, in collaboration with Louisville-based architect-of-record K. Norman Berry Associates (KNBA).

U Richmond Offsets 100% of Electricity with Solar

Energy

U Richmond Offsets 100% of Electricity with Solar

A Virginia institution is the latest school to cover all of its electricity needs with a more sustainable source. The University of Richmond (UR) has joined campuses in Colorado, Hawaii and Minnesota to match 100 percent of its electricity usage with solar power.

Funding

Texas School District Bond Refi to Save $16 Million

A Texas school district has refinanced its outstanding bonds, a move that it expects will save nearly $16 million.

New School Construction

Yosemite School Finally Discarding Portables for New Construction

A high school next door to Yosemite National Park will be replacing seven portables that have been in use for "decades" with a new 6,000-square-foot, five-classroom building.

Returning to In-Person Instruction

Department of Ed to Survey on Status of School Reopenings

The U.S. Department of Education will be running a survey to understand the status of in-person learning at the nation's schools. The Institute of Education Sciences (IES) will oversee the project, dubbed the "NAEP 2021 School Survey." Currently, the agency noted, there isn't enough data to understand the status of school re-opening or how students are learning. The survey is intended to fill that gap.

School Construction

CA High School STEM Building Topped Off

A California district has "topped off" its new multi-story, $67 million, 83,000-square-foot STEM school. The Los Alamitos Unified School District has laid the last piece of structural framing at the highest point of the building. The steel beam that was placed included handwritten messages, an American flag and an evergreen tree.

Virginia Commonwealth Shows Off New Engineering Research Building — Virtually

Construction Projects

Virginia Commonwealth Shows Off New Engineering Research Building — Virtually

According to the university, the 133,000-square-foot building is intended to support advanced research and economic development initiatives with a design that emphasizes makerspaces, collaborative research facilities and flexible gathering areas.

Oregon State to Add Arts and Education Complex

New Campus Construction

Oregon State to Add Arts and Education Complex

Oregon State University in Corvallis will be getting a new Arts and Education facility. The university's board of trustees recently approved construction of the $70 million complex, which will host performing arts classes, programs and performances on the campus in a 500-seat concert hall.

San Antonio College Uses Bond for New Campus Construction

Construction Funding

San Antonio College Uses Bond for New Campus Construction

San Antonio College is funding construction of a new $13 million science building from a $83 million bond approved by county voters in 2017.