Support for the construction and infrastructure of public school facilities is long overdue.
There are approximately 100,000 public school facilities in the United States—and the Government Accountability Office (GAO) reports that 53% of school districts have stated the need for upgrades or total replacement of multiple building systems, including HVAC systems. According to the 2021 Report Card For America’s Infrastructure (created by the American Society of Civil Engineers), the U.S. school sector of infrastructure is currently pulling a D+.
To provide a safe and effective learning environment for students, public school facilities must provide adequate space, light, clean water, and modern ventilation, heating, and cooling systems. Research and data show that improving school buildings improves both health and student learning and creates more jobs. And because public school buildings often serve double duty as emergency shelters and community centers, facility upgrades are imperative to ensure these buildings are adequately prepared to fulfill this essential purpose.
When school construction projects require excavation, it’s critical to allot time and budget to underground utility scanning. Unforeseen obstructions can not only cost the project time and money but can lead to injury to the construction crew. Safety should never be neglected or pushed off.
As federal funding and alternative financing options for public school facilities are attained, school construction and renovation will rise across the nation. Indeed, the Construction Productivity blog reports that school construction is already trending upward.
GPRS is equipped to help improve U.S. school infrastructure by providing top-of-the-line inspection services and technologies that promote construction safety and project efficiency.
Increased Need for Construction Means Increased Need for Construction Safety
Many public school facilities are decades old, which means drawings and maps are not always available or accurate. On top of this, as-built utility drawings are seldom updated every time a construction renovation is completed, which leaves excavation contractors vulnerable to utility strikes, shutdowns, delays, and injuries. School construction projects are exceptionally time-sensitive, typically scheduled around “out-of-session” breaks when students are not in the building, so delays must be avoided.
Accurate, up-to-date as-built drawings and facility maps are the key to reducing unknown variables and ensuring success for any construction project. With our facility mapping and modeling services, the GPRS Deliverables Department can update existing or create new as-built drawings that portray school buildings' actual site conditions, including any variations, renovations, or unknown pipes.
Excavating, digging, trenching, drilling, and boring are standard services and natural results of school infrastructure maintenance, repair, and replacement projects. Typically, the 811 process (a toll-free nationwide service that should always be called before starting any digging project) is capable of locating the underground facilities before these services. However, 811 does not typically mark depths and will not mark any privately owned utilities. GPRS can perform a comprehensive one-call locate by partnering with the school district and the state-sponsored 811 systems to ensure all buried utilities are located. All site employees are protected from potential line strike damages.
GPRS services are not limited to locating utilities to improve America’s school infrastructure. Concrete drilling, often used in construction projects for public school buildings, comes at a risk. GPRS Project Managers are equipped with multiple technologies to clear areas prior to core drilling and anchoring.
When the scanning process is complete, you will have a clear layout of impediments’ vertical and horizontal positions, such as post-tension cables, rebar, beams, and conduits. GPRS scanning and imaging services can be completed on any surface, including concrete slabs, walls, columns, and beams.
Raise the Report Card Grade
To invest in public school infrastructure is truly investing in our nation’s future. It is critical to prioritize and secure adequate funding for equitable school construction projects to ensure that all students can learn in a safe and healthy environment—including natural light, working heating and air conditioning, proper ventilation, air quality, and more—that promotes student achievement.
Successful upgrades and modernizations of public school buildings create a great need for construction safety initiatives and technology, such as our Utility Locating Services and Concrete Scanning Services, to ensure the protection of site employees and avoid costly damages and project delays.
GPRS envisions a tomorrow with the capability of 100% subsurface damage prevention.