Rickards High School

Tallahassee, FL

The Rickards High School Campus Reconstruction was a multi-phase project including renovation, demolition, and new construction. Most construction was scheduled while class was in session, forcing the design team to collaborate in order to accomplish construction goals without interfering with the fully-functioning school.

The renovation scope included modifications to four buildings across campus. Each of the buildings was structurally evaluated to determine if additional support would be necessary prior to proposed modifications.

Demolition at the campus included six buildings along with various ramps and canopies. Two of the buildings scheduled for demolition were attached to existing structures that were to remain. Structural evaluation was performed to determine if structural modifications were required prior to the partial demolition of these two buildings. Challenges were encountered due to the need to provide continuous handicap accessible pathways, and also as a result of the complicated mechanical and electrical systems that run through the buildings.

A substantial amount of the overall project scope was comprised of new construction. New baseball and softball facilities included press boxes, backstops, fences, and concession stands. Retaining walls, new classroom buildings, and access walkways and elevators were also among the new construction.

Over 1,200 linear feet of retaining wall was designed, with wall heights up to 14 feet tall. A portion of the retaining wall serves as a dam to the stormwater pond, and an additional segment was constructed on top of an existing stormwater headwall. One retaining wall is designed to support a generator pad, and this wall is also designed to accommodate expansion turns in a chilled water pipe. Various materials were used for the multiple retaining walls based on environmental and usage demands. Retaining wall materials include structural steel soldier piles, cast in place concrete walls, and precast concrete piles.

The two new classroom buildings are two-story with a square footage totaling over 60,000 square feet. One of these buildings features a 3,800 square feet basement with twelve-foot-high retaining walls on all sides and an elevated slab structure. This basement also includes approximately 75 feet of cantilevered walls around the basement entry.

Other aspects of new construction included a covered pedestrian bridge to connect the two new buildings, a new freestanding elevator, a new entry portal, an elevator and shaft for an existing building, an office addition and new exterior stair at an existing building, and new screen walls to dress the existing building structures.