Early in the current decade, violence within the community of Northeast Central Durham, N.C., escalated to the point where school safety officers at Holton Junior High School feared for their own safety. The school eventually closed and the property sat vacant for five years, during which time vandals and drive-by shooters destroyed most of the windows, and the 60,000-sf building became a haven for drug users and the homeless. The less said about the rodent and bird infestations, the better.
After neighbors demanded that Durham Public Schools take proper responsibility for its property, the district partnered with the city, the county, and Duke Healthcare to rework the former school into a multiuse community center. Rehabbed for a scant $16.68 million by the Building Team of Davis Kane Architects, Skanska (CM at risk), Heery International (program manager), En-Tech (MEP engineer), and Stroud, Pence and Associates (structural engineer), the facility reopened in July. Holton offers the community sorely needed services, including career and technical education classes, a recreation and wellness center, an auditorium, childcare and after-school programs, and a health clinic operated by Duke Healthcare.
Also helping to revitalize the community was Skanska’s decision to hire and train small-firm subcontractors, several of whom live in the neighborhood. The Building Team also achieved 46.5% minority participation on the project.
“We have a lot of empty buildings like this in our communities, said Reconstruction Awards judge Darlene Ebel, Director of Facility Information Management at the University of Illinois at Chicago. “They had a small budget and they did a lot of good with the money.” BD+C
Submitting firm: Heery International (program manager)
Owner/developer: Durham Public Schools
Architect: Davis Kane Architects
CM at risk: Skanska USA Building Inc.
MEP engineer: En-tech Engineering
Structural engineer: Stroud, Pence and Associates Ltd.
Size: 60,000 gsf
Construction cost: $16.68 million
Construction time: August 2009 to July 2010
Delivery method: CM at risk