Olsson Associates


Olsson team wins Project Team of the Year for Springfield’s Sherwood Elementary School

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Cameron Smith, Land Development

Olsson has been commended for the company it keeps.

Olsson was part of a team that was recently awarded the 2015 Project Team of the Year by the Springfield Contractors Association for the team’s work on Springfield, Missouri, Public Schools’ new Sherwood Elementary School project. The association presented this award on November 5, 2015, at their annual 2015 Salute to Design and Construction Banquet.

Photo courtesy of Sapp Design Associates Numerous projects were submitted for award consideration. However, after being short listed for award consideration and impressing the selection committee at a site visit at the new school, the selection committee chose Olsson’s team, which was led by architect Sapp Design Associates.

Project team members included the following firms:

  • Springfield Public Schools
  • Sapp Design Associates (architect)
  • Olsson Associates (civil engineering)
  • DeWitt & Associates (contractor)
  • Toth and Associates (structural engineer)
  • Malone Finkle Eckhardt & Collins (mechanical, electrical, and plumbing engineer)

About the project

The new school was built at a new site from the existing school, which was built in 1936. The project consisted of constructing an $18 million building with approximately 80,000 square feet of floor area to accommodate 600 students from kindergarten through fifth grade. The school also entered into a partnership with the Boys & Girls Club of America to designate an area of the school for the organization’s activities. The designated area also serves as a tornado-safe room. 

Numerous project attributes qualified the team for the Project Team of the Year award. The project’s unique features included its low-energy-use design that makes it a net zero-capable building. Through strategic siting and use of high-performance glass, light shelves, skylights, and auto-sensors, natural lighting will supplement or even replace the need for artificial lighting during most occupancy times. A state-of-the-art, automated building management system—along with relays—will monitor the facility 24 hours a day. The system will shut down areas of the building during non-use hours, minimizing and/or eliminating hidden energy usage.

The heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) system includes energy-efficient, geothermal walls and controls that allow for the system to be minimized in unoccupied rooms or wings. The project also includes a small solar panel array and is designed for additional panels on the roof of the classroom wings. As funds become available, the future addition of solar and wind power could make it completely net zero and off the utility grid. 

Project design challenges and opportunities

The school site is located along Springfield’s South Creek, where there is a floodplain along the eastern and southern edges of the property. In addition to this, other design considerations and challenges included the following:

  • The Horton Smith Golf course runs along the north property line.
  • Golden Avenue borders the school site’s west side and had to be reconfigured to provide access.
  • South Creek Linear Park Trail and South Creek run along the site’s south side.
  • An existing sanitary sewer main across the site had to be relocated.
  • Bedrock was present throughout the site.
  • Off-site storm drainage across the site had to be piped with a 4-foot-high by 8-foot-wide box culvert.
  • The site’s location itself was limited and needed to be accounted for to accommodate the building’s function, access, size, and future net zero capabilities.

Along with the private improvements, public storm, sanitary, and road improvements were completed to accommodate the project.

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