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    Construction Project Provides Learning Opportunity for McGilvra 2nd Graders
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    McGilvra students talk with architects

    BEX IV Construction Project Provides Learning Opportunity

    Students at McGilvra Elementary have a front row view of the construction of their new lunchroom and cafeteria. Earlier this month, Integrus Architects visited with second-graders to share what goes into planning and construction of projects such as this one, funded by the Building Excellence IV (BEX IV) Capital Levy.

    Architects Sara Wilder and Tim Hanlon first described the school design process and how it involves asking questions and refining ideas before developing the drawings. “Drawings are kind of like the instruction book for Legos,” said Sara. “They tell the builders what to build.”

    After going through a presentation showing drawings of the site and renderings of the new building, Sara discussed demolition, site preparation, rebar and concrete installation, steel framing and adding metal studs to hold up the walls. Then it was time for questions from the students.

    “When will it be finished?” asked one student.

    “Did you start in summer so the ground was thawed out?” asked another.

    The project began in summer 2017 and is scheduled for completion this spring with students beginning to use it in fall 2018. Work is started in the summer partly because of ground conditions — it’s less likely to be wet or frozen — but also because students aren’t on campus and a lot of work can be done without worrying about disrupting school. Roof installation, and the related smells, lead one student to ask where they used the rubber. Sara said that the district wants the roof to last a long time, so they ask for use of certain kinds of materials. The roof membrane is kind of like rubber, and it sometimes smells a little bad when it’s installed.

    “Is it like tar?” asked a student.

    Sara replied, “It’s sort of a modern version of tar.”

    Other questions related to specifics of construction — “How far did you have to put the rebar down,” “How much concrete did you have to put around the rebar?” and “How long does it take for all the cement to dry?” Tim and Sara explained that some of the rebar goes down about six feet and combines with cross-bracing and a lot of concrete to make the building really stable. Concrete has to cover the rebar completely and ends up covering it by about 3 inches in most places. It takes about a day for concrete to get pretty hard, but it keeps getting stronger over time. “Someone comes and checks it after 7 days,” said Sara. “And then again after 28 days. It will be even stronger at that point.”

    McGilvra students asked Sara and Tim, “Why did you become an architect?”

    “In school, I really liked math and science,” said Sara. “But I also liked being creative and art.” Being an architect lets her bring those things together.

    Tim said, “I was a hotel restaurant manager for a while, but I didn’t like it much. I didn’t like it that there wasn’t very much problem solving.” He likes being an architect because he gets to problem solve a lot. “I like that creative aspect,” he said. “There’s always something to figure out every day when I come to work.”

    Thanks to Integrus Architects, McGilvra’s second-graders now have a better understanding of what they see each day outside their windows.

    Read more about the Building Excellence IV (BEX IV) Capital Levy.

    Read more about McGilvra Elementary.