Imagine if a tornado or other act of nature destroyed your local school just before summer break and just twelve weeks prior to the first day of class for the next school year. What would you do then? How would you meet the needs of the community, students and teachers? This time of year with hurricane season bearing down on us, it is a distinct possibility that a damaging storm could occur.
Elias Brookings Elementary School in Springfield, Massachusetts was faced with that problem. It was June 1, 2011 when a tornado moved quickly through the city, leaving damage to property and four dead in its path. Significant damage was done to some of the school buildings, leaving Brookings Elementary unusable.
With classes for the next school year slated to start on August 29th, options were limited, so a bold plan was announced. An entire functioning temporary two-story classroom building would be operational by the first bell of the new school year, to be used while a new building would be planned and constructed. Complicating matters was that two-stories were needed for the temporary school building due to the limited space available on the property, so an elevator had to be part of the package.
Modular was the only solution.
Phone calls were made, meetings were held, plans were drawn up and within weeks modular classrooms were being hoisted into place. The elevator was designed, built, shipped and installed in just six weeks.
For people not familiar with the elevator industry, that accomplishment is nearly miraculous, despite the fact that we do it every day. Most elevator construction, including the hoistway, takes 8 months or more, not eight weeks. The good news for Brookings Elementary, the staff, teachers, students and parents, is that school was opened as promised, on time.
Regardless of the disaster, there are times that buildings and vertical transportation are needed quickly, and modular buildings and elevators can help save the day. Sometimes modular helps reduce costs of business interruption or enables school to open quickly or on time. In some circumstances, like for Brookings, modular is the only solution.
Also, in this case a temporary fix was needed, but offsite construction is more flexible and faster to install than standard stick-built projects, whether it is temporary or permanent. If you are in a situation that needs a fast building solution, modular building should be considered.