I hope that this email finds you well and that you and your families are enjoying the nice, warm weather that we’ve had this week! It has been awhile since I last provided you all with an update on the Crozet ES project, and I wanted to take this opportunity to do so, as well as make you aware of some work that will be happening early next week. I apologize in advance for the lengthy email, but I hope you find it helpful.
Also, please feel free to forward this to anyone else in the community that may be interested. I sent to everyone in the nearby area that I have an email for, but there are many that I do not. If there are individuals or neighbors that did not get my original email and would like to be included in future correspondence, please have them reach out to me and I will add them to the distribution list!
General Project Update
Since my last update the design team was able to complete the full design of the project, and has been finalizing the site review process. Some of you may have received notifications from the Community Development Department during that process. The team expects to receive approval on the site plan in the next few weeks, as many of the various permitting agencies have already signed off on the plans, including VDOT’s approval of the proposed entrances to the site.
Currently, the project is out for bidding, with contractors’ bids due on Thursday, March 18. We currently anticipate construction starting full-time in May. From a big-picture perspective, you can expect to see work in the following areas at the approximate times (Note: These are still subject to change prior to contracting with the low bidder):
- 2021 Summer – Work will be focused on the east side of the parcel (behind the existing building), including construction of the new bus loop and expanded playground area. Construction will likely start on the new classroom addition to the south. Interior renovations to the school admin and library area.
- 2021-22 School Year – Work will continue on the new classroom addition to the south and the new kitchen addition to the north. Some targeted interior renovations when the school schedule allows. No changes to car/bus traffic circulation for this school year.
- 2022 Summer – Work will be focused on the west side of the parcel, including construction of the new front parking lot. Completion of the new classroom and kitchen additions. Interior HVAC renovations to existing classrooms and converting the existing kitchen to an expanded dining area.
To provide you with a brief update on the plans relative to the items that many of you have asked about in the past:
- The project team removed the new classroom addition from the stream buffer in its entirety, but was unable to avoid eliminating the need for temporary access into the 50’ landward side of the buffer during construction. As we had previously indicated, the County stream buffer ordinance does authorize temporary access for construction purposes. In its final form, the project is making stormwater management enhancements that will improve the water quality compared to the site’s existing conditions.
- I know that many of you asked about exterior lighting:
- In the short term, some of you may have noticed that we were able to adjust the one exterior light outside the existing gym door that you had mentioned was a problem. That light has been adjusted to point down as far as the light fixture allows.
- All spaces in the new addition will have motion sensors so that lights are turned off when they do not detect motion.
- We are required by the building code to have egress lighting at all exits. There are 2 exits on the new addition – one on the western end of the addition and one on the eastern end.
- The project has complied with the County’s lighting ordinances and review of those lighting requirements was part of the site plan review process.
- There will be an expanded playground behind the school at the conclusion of the first summer. Hopefully your children and grandchildren will enjoy this expanded feature!
I think those were the major issues that we had heard about previously, but if I missed something specific that you’d like an update on, please do not hesitate to reach out. Moving forward, I will do my best to provide you with quarterly updates of our progress through the construction phase, and I will certainly communicate any special concerns ahead of time.
Geothermal Test Well Drilling Next Week
I wanted to also notify you all about some work that we will be doing next week. This project will be installing a new geothermal ground HVAC system to heat and cool the new additions, as well as large portions of the existing building. It will be the first geothermal HVAC system in a County facility!
If you are unfamiliar with these systems, there are lots of resources on the internet that explain the technology. However, the short version is that they utilize the earth’s temperature for heat exchanges (i.e. heating and cooling) since the earth’s inner temperature is always constant. A heat pump cycles water through long loops of underground pipes that then transfer heat from ambient air in the building to the ground and vice versa. Here is a great resource from the EPA’s website should you wish to learn more about these systems: https://www.epa.gov/rhc/geothermal-heating-and-cooling-technologies#Ground-Source-Heat-Pumps
The expected payback time for the system at Crozet ES is approximately 7-8 years. This represents a conservative estimate based on the data available to us at this time. Once the system is up and running, it is possible that we will see the payback period on this system reduced. You can see the long-term projected savings of this system compared to other more traditional systems that the design team considered here (the geothermal system is represented by the green line):
The County is excited about this system, as it is a big step forward in achieving the County’s Climate Action Plan. Let me know if you have any other questions about the system!
In order to better inform the contractors bidding on the project and to also adjust the design details if needed, we will be drilling two test wells next week starting on Monday and concluding on Wednesday. The wells will be 550’ deep. These wells are no different from a water well – the water from them is simply used for a purpose other than drinking water. As I am sure you are aware, drilling wells can sometimes be a noisy operation so we will stick to the following schedule for next week:
- Monday: Midday (approximately noon) – Nightfall (approximately 6-6:30)
- Tuesday: 7:30 AM – Nightfall (approximately 6-6:30)
- Wednesday: 8:00 AM – Finish
As always should you have any questions about the work taking place next week or any of the items above, please do not hesitate to reach out to me. I hope you all have a great weekend!
Senior Project Manager – Facilities Planning & Construction