Project Profile: Guilford Park High School
Scope of work:
New, $129 million, 289,000-square-foot high school
BC&E Member companies involved:
James Posey Associates
Oak Contracting, LLC
Sody Concrete Construction
Just because the project is construction of a prototype high school doesn’t make it a routine job.
Building the newly opened Guilford Park High School in Jessup required the project team to complete expansive site work, install uncommon systems and craft some exquisite architectural details.
Even though a sitework contractor had already moved 800,000 cubic yards of dirt before Oak Contracting started work on site in 2019, “we still had to spend six months doing nothing but moving dirt,” said Wayne Temple, Superintendent. Changes in stormwater management requirements meant that three existing ponds had to be enlarged. Further grading and compacting were needed, including undercuts and the addition of sub-base fill in several locations.
“The site is 75 acres and required installation of over two miles of chain link fence,” Temple said. “It is also the first school I ever built where I had to put in roughly a mile of county road.”
Developing that county road meant collaborating with BGE to upgrade natural gas piping along Route 1 to support a four-inch line to the school and installing backup electrical lines along the new road, which could compensate for any outages along Route 1.
Once vertical construction began, the team made swift progress.
“The building is pretty much all block. The only place that has drywall is the front office and the student council area,” Temple said. “The mason just kept moving forward as we got slabs ready so once we put the roof on, the rooms were all made. You didn’t have to come back and do metal studs, framing and drywall.”
Although Guilford Park was the fourth iteration of a Howard County Public Schools prototype, it was the largest version of the design and included some different features.
“The building has a CO2 air acuity system so if you have gym and go to a classroom for the following period and there is too much CO2, the system detects that and dumps more fresh air into that classroom,” he said.
In addition to a full-size gym, auxiliary gym, wrestling room, high-tech weight room, full auditorium, dance studio, drama room, chorus room, band room and ensemble rooms, the school includes some unique amenities and architectural features. The third floor includes a mini auditorium with a high ceiling and large windows.
“The common area is an open stairway from the first floor to the third that creates a clear, three-story atrium with a sunken classroom in a corner of that space,” he said.
That common area and the media center include huge, 35-foot by 16-foot skylights. And the hallway floors throughout the school are covered with 62,500 square feet of terrazzo, arranged in a four-color pattern. The intricate installation required the flooring contractor to closely coordinate schedules with other trades and took almost a year to complete.