By Eric Pellerin
The best part about modular construction is that it can be useful in nearly every industry. Over the years, we’ve seen many unique uses for modular buildings.
The educational sector is one of the most prominent industries taking advantage of modular construction benefits.
Here are five unique ways schools are leveraging modular construction to give you a better idea of how schools are tackling challenges with modular solutions.
- LIMITING SITE DISRUPTION
One of the primary draws for modular over traditional construction is site impact. Since most of the process takes place off-site, modular construction causes minimal site disruption without requiring large construction equipment.
Minimal site disruption means less noise, less debris, and fewer distractions for building occupants.
Limiting site disruption is significant for schools—learning environments disrupted by loud noise, restricted areas, and construction equipment create a distracting environment for students and staff.
That’s why many schools and educational institutions turn to modular for any upgrades, additions, or building replacements.
Let’s look at the Hopkins and Elmwood Elementary Schools as an example. Both schools chose modular to limit site disruption, and we achieved their goal—crews were only on-site for 20 days, with nearly all of the work done off-site! We managed to complete both additions in a single summer.
- INNOVATIVE AND CREATIVE SPACES FOR STUDENTS
Gone is the stigma that modular buildings all look the same and offer zero customization. With proper planning and forethought, modular classrooms can create iconic spaces that push the boundaries of what was previously thought possible with modular.
One of our favorite examples of this is from Northeastern University. The school wished to create a new leasing office with a twist—the office doubled as a realistic mockup of model dorm rooms.
Students could tour these model dorm rooms and get a feel for what their dorm rooms would look like, being able to touch and look at accurate model showrooms while the actual dorms were under construction.
- FLEXIBLE SPACES TO ADDRESS SPECIFIC SCHOOL NEEDS
As the years go on, the needs of schools are continuously shifting, which can create major issues in the education system, such as overcrowding.
Overcrowded schools need a solution to address these issues quickly. With modular buildings, schools can modify or add additional space as they see fit to accommodate their growth, from additional faculty offices to learning centers.
Science centers or lab spaces have unique safety and layout requirements making repurposing space more challenging than getting a custom modular lab addition.
As curriculums become more in-depth and hands-on, a dedicated science center or space for laboratory projects ensures that students get the most out of their science education.
This was the case for Wellesley College—with a sudden need for modifications to their current science center, they wanted to continue with their normal curriculum without interruption.
We helped them by providing them with a temporary science center in the interim. Instead of sending students to an off-site location, temporary modular classrooms allowed Wellesley College to keep their students on campus while continuing to build their new science center.
- MANAGING EXTERNAL AND UNCONTROLLABLE FACTORS
The pandemic in 2020 showed us how quickly things could change for entire industries—including education.
Suddenly, schools were left to devise ways to enforce the strict social distancing codes put in place to protect students.
Modular classrooms have been used throughout the pandemic years to help with social distancing. Instead of classrooms fast approaching capacity, temporary classrooms allow schools to separate classrooms and adhere to social distancing codes.
Thayer Academy found itself in exactly this situation. With additional space needed to accommodate the sudden social distancing laws, we provided Thayer Academy with buildings from our Silverline series. We helped them get the space they needed with minimal disruption and had the units ready to go in record time.
Schools can leverage modular beyond pandemic situations as well—any situation outside of the school’s control can create a need for space that modular classrooms can fill.
- MEETING CODES FOR BUILDING PERFORMANCE
Modular buildings from the right provider allow schools to create green, healthy learning environments that promote productivity.
This is especially helpful for older schools that need quick updates to comply with new building codes.
One such example is Needham Mitchell Elementary School. With the Mass “Stretch” Energy code adopted by the town, the school’s new swing space provided by us needed to meet a whole new set of energy efficiency and insulation standards.
Eric Pellerin heads up marketing for Triumph Modular, a leader in the Northeast Region for leasing mobile offices, modular buildings, and storage containers, www.triumphmodular.com.