When it comes to restoring the facades of school buildings, the safety and comfort of the students and faculty while work is underway is a top priority. Western Specialty Contractors, Springfield, Ill., Branch, was challenged with restoring the masonry façade of Limestone Community High School in Bartonville, Ill., while school was still in session. Close communication with district officials and an experienced work crew got the job done in just three months to minimize disruption.
“The overall schedule for the project allowed for a maximum 5-month’s duration, which would require 2-3 months of disruptive restoration work with school in session,” says Western Springfield Branch Manager Scott Haas. “Maintaining a productive learning environment for both students and faculty were of the utmost importance to the school district and to Western. Therefore, we had to be in close communication with the school district about where we could and could not work on a daily basis.”
Work on the project began at the end of May while students were still in class, but just before leaving for summer break. In order for Western’s crews to maximize their productivity while school was closed, Western increased its crew size over the summer, allowing them to get the work done faster in multiple areas that could potentially be coordination issues when students and faculty returned after summer vacation. The increased crew size also helped expedite the overall schedule, and the bulk of the work was completed before students and faculty returned. The entire project was completed by the end of August.
The exterior masonry repairs and restoration work, designed by apaceDesign Architects + Engineers of Peoria, Ill., focused on immediate repairs to the building facade and protecting the facade from future damage. Western crews replaced over 6,000 lineal feet of window/door perimeters, brick masonry control joints, coping stone joints, granite to granite joints, and metal to metal panel sealant joints. Western used silicone sealants to maximize the service life of the repairs, as they withstand the elements much longer than traditional urethane sealants.
Where vertical cracking was evident in the brick masonry veneer, indicating building movement, Western saw-cut the areas and created soft joints with new closed-cell backer rod and silicone sealants to accommodate future movement.
In addition to the time constraints, facade accessibility was another challenge on the project for Western. Portions of the work scope included upper roofs and encircled courtyards where access was difficult. Since these areas could not be accessed with aerial lifts, like most of the façade, Western crews set up pipe scaffolding, which had to be setup, broken down, moved and rebuilt multiple times as the repairs progressed around the building.