Case Studies

Voyageur Academy: Preparing a New High-tech Public Charter School

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Voyageur Academy students began the fall 2012 school year at a new facility following the completion of the Voyageur Academy Middle and High School in Detroit. Eastpointe, Mich.-based The Monahan Company (Monahan) oversaw the $11 million school construction project.

Monahan broke ground on the project in October 2011. The 110,900-square foot building allows Voyageur Academy and the Consortium College Preparatory High School (known collectively as Voyageur) to hold classes for fifth through 12th grade in one building.

Voyageur’s new building is designed to provide high-tech efficiency with functionality and versatility. The two-story facility has two gymnasiums, a full-service cafeteria and a media center. Monahan reports education wings were constructed with masonry bearing walls and precast concrete planks. The school sits on a nine-acre campus that had to undergo a soil remediation process before construction could begin.

“This building is one of the biggest projects most of the subs had ever worked on,” says Kevin C. Monahan, the project director for Monahan who handled all the planning and organization of subcontractors to get Voyageur’s construction done on time and at budget.

Discipline. Perseverance. Character.

Voyageur is a public charter school that boasts a graduation rate of 96 percent and a college acceptance rate of 99 percent. The school bases its education of nearly 900 students from 20 different cities on the following three principles: discipline, perseverance and character. Since the school was founded in 1998, it has aimed to enhance the educational foundation through drive and determination to achieve academic excellence.

Voyageur contracted with Monahan to build a facility that would better suit the needs of its students. Constructed to address growing enrollment, the new Voyageur can serve upwards of 1,000 students. The facility is designed with progressive, innovative features to help position Voyageur at elite status.

While construction of the school was finished for students to begin classes in fall 2012, some finishing touches are still being complete. However, students are already benefiting from the high-tech, safe and comfortable environment built. The design provides a professional workspace that facilitates collaboration and education.

In addition to the two gymnasiums and the 300 plus-seat cafeteria, the building features 41 student-learning spaces, a weight-training facility, learning-intervention space and two media and technology centers. Specialized classrooms include a dance and drama studio with a performance floor system, four science rooms, music and band rooms and an art studio. The facility also features a living roof on portions of the first floor deck to facilitate outdoor learning.

One primary high-tech feature included in each classroom is Smart Boards. These electronic whiteboards are interactive and great for demonstrations in the classroom. For students, these Smart Boards help the lesson come alive because it brings reality into the classroom. The incorporation of these boards help address different learning styles allowing the opportunity to explore and manipulate concepts by interacting with the medium.

Dedicated to Personal Service

Monahan proved to be the perfect partner for this state-of-the-art facility. Monahan has been a cutting-edge construction management firm active in the southeast Michigan area for 90 years. Monahan is a fourth-generation company founded by Edward V. Monahan in 1922. Quality, integrity and stability have been cornerstones for the company’s growth and long-term success, and Monahan continues to provide a single source of responsibility led by a team involved from start to finish on creative, cost-effective projects.

The company and its executives recognize that community facilities such as schools, healthcare centers and houses of worship have been at the center of American life for years, and Monahan has taken on many school build projects throughout its history with the intention of establishing structures that inspire future generations. Indeed, nearly 20 percent of the company’s work is focused in the educational sector.

Kevin joined his family’s company in 1991. He is responsible for daily oversight of project operations and planning. Working for Monahan, Kevin has become the main liaison between project teams, on-site staff, architects and owners to help fulfill the goal of building a space in which a community can gather. Many of the services he helps provide include engineering, overall planning, conceptual estimates, subcontractor qualifications and pricing, schedule development, procurement of long lead items and contract administration. At the core of all this activity is a consistency of actions, values, methods and principles.

One thing Kevin focused on with the Voyageur building is energy efficiency. While the school as a whole was not applying for any type of LEED certification, Monahan still wanted to provide some of the environmentally friendly elements that certification would require. For example, natural lighting was incorporated alongside insulation both as a means of low-impact temperature control and as a way to improve conditions for the students.

It is the added attention to details, such as energy efficiency, that has fostered the strong, loyal, lasting relationships between Monahan and its clients. Monahan has focused on developing the company’s talent and technology to achieve a customer’s goals.

With the help of The Monahan Company and its conscientious management, the new Voyageur Academy is sure to help educate children in a world-class setting, enriching the surrounding region for years to come.

Published on: April 25, 2013

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