Texas has several of the fastest growing public school districts in the country, and much of this growth is taking place in areas within the major metropolitan areas of Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, San Antonio, and Austin. A major challenge for these districts is how they can expand their facilities during periods of state and local funding cutbacks. For some, the answer is to add new campuses, while for others it is to expand their existing schools. In almost every case the latter makes the most economic sense, particularly when the cost of building a new school ranges from $20-60 million then you add on the financial challenges of managing the overhead costs associated with additional principals, coaches, security and maintenance personnel, and other staff functions. So when a school district makes the decision to expand an existing school with permanent facilities, they should strongly consider utilizing the most cost effective construction approach available – permanent modular construction.
Ramtech’s ability to developing cost effective campus expansions is achieved through our unique proprietary approach to permanent modular construction which we call the Accelerated Building System. Developed by Ramtech, the Accelerated Building System utilizes the best of onsite and offsite construction by combining the speed and efficiency of prefabricated modular buildings with the quality and appearance of site applied interior and exterior finishes. We achieve this by employing simultaneous construction tracts. At the same time a site specific, engineered reinforced concrete slab foundation is constructed on the building site, the fabrication of the modular sections are taking place in our manufacturing plant. When complete, the building sections are shipped to the project location, crane-set onto the concrete slab, then quickly weathered-in and finished-out on site. This form of permanent modular construction is not only less expensive, it creates much less site disruption, is considerably faster, and is every bit equal to, if not superior, to site construction methods.
We have been perfecting this approach to permanent modular construction for over 30 years, and in that time have met the campus expansion and addition requirements of school districts all across the Southwest. In under 15 months Ramtech expanded 38 Arlington Independent School District elementary schools with multiple classroom buildings, and in nine months added new facilities to 13 separate Alief ISD campuses. In every case, each one of these additions were designed and constructed to match the architectural features of the existing campus, some of which were decades old. The results are that by looking at an existing building compared to the one using the Accelerated Building System, it is impossible to distinguish which structure utilized the permanent modular construction approach.
Ramtech can provide permanent facilities to public school districts using either a design-build delivery system or in some cases, through the Texas BuyBoard purchasing cooperative. Additional information on the Accelerated Buildings System is available on our education website at www.ramtecheducation.com.
Gary White is Vice President of Sales & Estimating at Ramtech Building Systems, Inc. He has been in the commercial modular industry for 33 years and is responsible for the management of all sales and estimating efforts across each of Ramtech’s key market segments: Education, Government, Medical, and Commercial.