C.W. Driver Finishes $58M Orange County Grade School

By Eric Althoff

IRVINE, Calif.—C.W. Driver Companies, which has been a construction mainstay throughout California for over a century, recently completed constructing the $58 million Solis Park K-8 School for the Irvine Unified School District. As designed by PJHM Architects, Inc., the Solis Park campus encompasses 108,000 square feet of educational space across seven buildings that include a childcare facility.

In addition to the childcare areas, Solis Park contains a commissary, design labs, special instruction rooms, science-and-art courtyard, fitness center and indoor gym. Additionally, a modern innovation lab will provide learning experiences in video production, robotics and engineering.

PJHM’s design is meant to encourage collaboration, innovation as well as discovery. The architect worked with personnel from C.W. Driver to ensure the school adhered to criteria set out by the Collaborative for High-Performance Schools (CHPS), meant to increase an educational edifice’s energy efficiency and utilize the safest construction materials possible.

The school is now hosting students from kindergarten through 5th grade. Students in 6th through 8th grades will be moving into the Orange County campus soon.

“We have a strong passion for building schools at C.W. Driver knowing that our work will provide children a safe and modern place to learn for many years to come,” Tom Jones, project executive at C.W. Driver Companies, said of the completion.

In a subsequent statement emailed to School Construction News, Jonathan Keene, senior project manager at C.W. Driver, said that one of the largest challenges of the construction was the exterior building finishes and site work that had to blend together in one continuous school design.

“The finishes included exterior metal panel systems, aluminum wood planks assemblies, plaster, exterior bi-fold aluminum doors, a dynamic paint scheme, and five different types of flatwork finishes,” said Keene. “With so much going on concurrently at all seven buildings, the amount of coordination amongst the trades, procurement of different materials, and simultaneously holding to a high level of quality control made for a unique challenge not faced with many other K-8 campus builds.”

Furthermore, Keene and his team had to contend with such other logistical challenges as building out a 40-foot clock tower, covered walkways as well as a new photovoltaic system installed in both of Solis Park’s parking lots.

C.W. Driver’s portfolio of Golden State school construction work also includes Chino Valley USD’s K-8 The Preserve II School, as well as work as such other campuses as Granada Hills Charter’s TK-8 School Facility, Menifee USD’s Menifee Valley Middle School, San Diego USD’s Nipaquay Elementary School and Grossmont UHSD’s El Capitan High School Events Center.

The company says it has successfully delivered more than 150 K-12 projects in its century of business, and is ranked by Engineering News Record as among the Top 150 General Contractors and Top 100 Construction Managers. They operate from California offices in Los Angeles, Anaheim, Rancho Cucamonga, San Diego and Carlsbad.