Meeting Street School, a nationally recognized school serving children and young adults with disabilities and developmental delays as well as students without, has opened an expansive new campus on seven acres of a recovered brownfield site located on the south side of Providence, RI. The $16.5 million dollar campus will be equipped with a LoadMatch® two pipe hydronic heating and cooling system that may help qualify the project for LEED certification.
The new building complex, designed by Saccoccio and Associates, of Cranston, RI, comprises 76,000 sq. feet of space for an early learning center and classrooms for the school's elementary, middle, and high school students. In addition, the campus includes a gym, pool, office areas and a library, which houses a Family Resource Center. The building also has a life skills center on the second floor.
Founded in 1946, Meeting Street School is recognized as a national leader in education and child development. The school is known for developing "revolutionary" concepts that are now widely accepted best practices. The school has a staff of some 130 employees and serves 200 children and young adults within the building. Ages range from as young as three weeks to adulthood, and come from many RI communities. The school also serves approximately 1,500 children offsite.
The new building's design is in direct response to the special needs of its students. The client requested that administrative services be spread throughout the school to allow for greater interaction and "inclusiveness." To promote the idea of inclusiveness between those individuals with physical disabilities and those without, an interior ramp was provided for all public areas in the building, so that everyone would travel together via the ramp during the course of a school day.
The two-story complex's layout is comprised of a main "street" corridor with five intersecting wings. This layout allows for considerable window space to harvest natural light. 95 percent of the school's expanse is devoted to space for student activity. 90 percent of all interior spaces are served by daylighting, with each of the five wings having its own skylight.
Numerous LEED qualifying construction materials and design elements went into the complex, including the use of low VOC (volatile organic compounds) paint and finish materials with a high recycled content. Reconstitution of the brownfield site involved the installation of a 2 ft. underground geo-membrane, with clean soil placed above it. All construction waste was recycled under a construction management plan.
Enginering Design Services Inc. (EDS), of Slatersville, RI, designed the heating and cooling system for the building. EDS Inc. specializes in mechanical, electrical, plumbing and fire protection design of commercial buildings like schools, hotels and office buildings. EDS had previously specified the Taco LoadMatch® system for the Lake of Isles golf course clubhouse at the Foxwoods Casino and Resort in nearby Mashantucket, CT.
According to William T. Mayer III, P.E., a principal at EDS, LoadMatch was the "a great application" for the project and helped hold down initial installation costs because of its need for less piping and valves than a conventional hydronic system. Another benefit realized by the project due to the Load Match system was the reduction in balancing, commissioning and startup labor due to the self-balancing nature of the system and the simple control strategy.
The LoadMatch system employs ceiling mounted IEC fan coil units with 2 factory-installed Taco LoadMatch circulators per fan coil. There are two circulators per fan coil - one for heating and one for cooling, providing "four pipe" performance with only two pipes. The building is equipped with a total of 56 fan coils along with 18 blower coils. Each fan coil comprises a separate zone. Indoor comfort within the building's many classrooms and activity spaces is controlled by DDC units from Johnson Controls.
The general contractor for the project was Lusi Construction of Smithfield, RI. Installation of the heating and cooling system was overseen by Delta Mechanical of Warwick, RI. The new complex, started in July 2004, was officially opened in December 2006.
According to Saccoccio and Associates the complex's HVAC system should qualify for LEED credits in two areas - Optimizing Energy Performance and Innovation in Design, based on expected energy savings and the reduced amount of materials employed, especially system pipe.