Middle School Completed in Time for Upcoming School Year

DURHAM, N.C. — A new middle school will open in Durham, N.C., just in time for the 2012-2013 school year. Lucas Middle School, part of Durham Public Schools, is also seeking LEED certification for the $25 million project.

The 151,000-square-foot facility will welcome approximately 640 students to the new facility this fall. The school will consist of a gym, auxiliary gym, media center, kitchen, cafeteria, auditorium, band/chorus rooms, and two two-story classroom wings. The school grounds, located next to a public park, include athletic fields for softball, baseball, soccer and practice football fields.

New technology and learning patterns of students inspired other areas within the school. There’s room for computer classes, video production, a full arts program and a greenhouse. The school features unique architecture and wired and wireless infrastructure for cutting-edge technology, according to John S. Clark Company, construction management for the project.

Those working on the project are especially proud of the energy-efficient details that went into the design and construction. The process of achieving LEED is a lengthy and sometimes frustrating venture, but it allows certified facilities to track energy savings and monitor the efficiency of the building.

“There is a ton of documentation involved and you have to carefully pay attention to the content, make sure contractors are sending the information needed on time, involving a lot of management of extraneous data in the midst of a complex schedule, and plan on top of all the responsibilities that come with a complex,

high-end building in the public sector,” said Nathan Long, John S. Clark’s project manager for Lucas Middle School.

Lucas Middle School is the second biggest project Long has worked on — and it didn’t come without it’s challenges. Along with the demanding LEED certification process, Long was forced to deal with multiple contractor defaults, according to a statement by John S. Clark. There was also pressure to finish the project on time, as the school year begins this fall. Through the process Long kept school administrators informed on the progress of construction with weekly meetings that highlighted the project schedule.

“I’m proud of this job, it’s a fantastic facility with some really cool features like daylight sensors for lights to help conserve energy and lots of natural lighting and high windows. It’ll be a great school,” Long said in a statement.

Along with the new middle school, John S. Clark has completed a number of high-end educational facilities throughout North Carolina — with over $100 million worth of education related projects in 2012 alone.