Use ICFs for safe, energy efficient schools

| by David Morris
Use ICFs for safe, energy efficient schools

Across the country, more than 300 schools have been built using insulated concrete forms, according to the ICF Manufacturer's association.

The folks at Fox Blocks are proud to be behind quite a few of those schools that are built to last. School boards are choosing ICF construction because they want to build schools that will last 50 to 100 years and use less energy along the way, as well as providing refuge for students and the community.

We're seeing schools in tornado-prone areas opt for ICFs to give students a safe place to hide when the winds howl.

One of our most interesting school projects was the West High School in West, Texas. In April 2013, a fire and explosion at the fertilizer plant there killed 15 people and destroyed much of the town, including the nearby schools.

The town focused on the school as a centerpiece of the rebuilding effort. The middle school and high school would be combined in a single campus. Some 123,00 square feet of Fox Blocks ICFs were used in the 217,000 square-foot school.

To meet the goals of energy efficiency and structural superiority ICF was selected as the primary wall component due to its blast, wind and fire resistance. The exceptional acoustic performance of the ICF walls was also a factor.

The design consists of two functionally independent schools, connected by the cafeteria and gymnasium. Within the academic wings, collaboration space connects classrooms, allowing educators to remove the adjoining wall and expand the learning space.

For the ICF contractor, Steven Swoszowski, owner of Global ICF Innovations, Inc., the project was a challenge because of the size and the schedule to complete the building so students could return to school. The build had more than 50 corners with wall heights ranging from 18 feet to 54 feet tall in the auditorium, with the average being about 30 to 35 feet.

Thanks to the efforts of everyone involved, the school was finished on time in August 2016 and constructed to LEED standards. The project won awards from ENR magazine and ICF Magazine.

This blog was developed by Fox Blocks. All posts, sponsored and un-sponsored have been reviewed and approved by the Sustainable Community Media Editorial Team to ensure quality, relevance/usefulness and objectivity.


Topics: Educational Buildings, Insulated Concrete Forms (ICF)

Companies: Fox Blocks



David Morris
A Detroit native, David T. Morris, LEED® Green Associate, used his drive for entrepreneurship, innovation & new product development to develop a patented product and later took a new building product to market. In 2012, he became U.S. East Regional Manager with Fox Blocks, a division of Airlite Plastics Company, managing ICF sales in seven states. Since 2006, David has delivered more than 140 IFA/ICF training seminars to contractors, plus another 120 presentations to architects and engineers. He is a featured speaker and SME on High-Performance Buildings, and his efforts have resulted in environmentally friendly construction being specified for residential, commercial, and institutional buildings throughout the country.

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