The start of summer didn’t slow the construction of the Kam Memar Lower School, the three-story, 36,500-square-foot facility adjoining Pace Academy’s existing Lower School classroom building. If anything, students’ absence from campus and ideal weather allowed the team from New South Construction to—pardon the pun—pick up the pace.
In early summer, crews finished the relocation of existing utilities such as water and natural gas and began installing a complex structural system. Where the former Randall House basement once stood, walls have begun to rise to form the new facility’s ground floor. In addition, concrete has been placed in the first section of the building’s foundation wall, and work is progressing quickly to complete all of the remaining below-ground structural work.
“With the help of Mother Nature, structural steel should be visible by late October. That said, we still have much to do before the building’s form will be recognizable,” says Project Manager BOB MILLS, president and chief operating officer of UDS Development Services and a parent of two Pace alumni.
Passersby will also notice changes taking place directly behind the stone Pace Academy marker at the corner of Rilman and West Paces Ferry roads, where crews have installed massive underground stormwater detention vaults. “While this important underground structure will not be visible when the project is complete, it will hold almost 225,000 gallons of stormwater and will be a great benefit to our campus and, as importantly, to our neighborhood,” says Mills. “For perspective, the pool in the Pace natatorium holds approximately 250,000 gallons.”
Although much of the construction work checked off the list thus far is hard to see, students, faculty and staff will notice very visible changes upon their return to campus. A retaining wall has been added to accommodate the new playground design, and the Lower School classroom building has received something of a facelift. Hallways have been refreshed with new paint, carpet and flooring, and a complete redesign of the Lower School library is underway. Crews have relocated the library entrance to make it a third-floor focal point and allow for the reorientation of the space. With new windows and more natural light, the library will include quiet nooks for reading, designated spaces for small-group work, a video conferencing area and open shelving.