Preston Elementary Renovation Shines and Saves

Amidst concerns of rising school construction costs, a meeting of school facility planners in Caroline County highlights the cost-saving successes of a recently renovated public school.

Architect Tom King described how the decision to renovate Preston Elementary instead of building a new school furthered environmental goals and recognized the value of the school to the local community.

At the meeting of school facility planners in Preston, Maryland, conversation focused on innovation and cost containment measures that may be taken in contemporary public school construction and renovation. The planners met in an example of several such measures at Preston Elementary School.

From the conversation in the Preston gym, it was clear that all school facility planners throughout the state are focused on finding the most effective and efficient ways to build and maintain Maryland’s schools. At the meeting, the planners discussed reports on the following developed by internal work groups:

  • Structural alternatives, including pre-engineered construction;
  • Cost-containing HVAC, electrical, and plumbing options;
  • Building envelope possibilities; and
  • Interior selections, including flooring, ceilings, and lighting.
School facility planners from across Maryland toured Preston Elementary, a recently renovated school that features open ceilings and uses geothermal heating.

Following the reports, the group heard presentations from Milton Nagel, Caroline County Schools Assistant Superintendent, and the architect, engineering consultancy, and builder who worked on Preston Elementary about their approach to the renovation. Each consultant prioritized cost savings to their approach, resulting in upfront cost savings and in longterm “lifecycle” savings.

Examples of cost-saving steps taken at Preston Elementary included:

  • Seeking to reuse the building’s original structure to the extent possible;
  • Updating systems to affordable and energy efficient technologies;
  • Keeping the renovation on schedule or ahead of schedule; and
  • Employing local prison labor to help move furniture and accomplish other tasks.

For more information, see the following:

Meeting Agenda

School Facility Planner Innovation and Cost Containment Study – Interim Data

State of Our Schools Report Presentation