Rising enrollment and the challenges of an outdated facility led Dubuque Community Schools to build its first new school in 30 years. It marked the first middle school built in the district and led two other schools to move to the 6th to 8th model.
The Dubuque Community School Board retained IIW to work with Durrant Group Inc. in the design of a new 205,000-square-foot Dubuque Community Middle School for 1,100 students. The site design also looked to the future and planned for a future elementary school.
The three-floor design helps foster a more close-knit feeling for the middle school students by creating three houses, one for each grade. These three houses make up each floor of the school’s tower. Students spend the most of their school day in these areas and go outside of their “house” for specialty classes such as art, music, and gym.
Building this new school would not come without some creative thinking by the project’s architects and engineers. The new 38—acre site where the three-story school would be built posed unique soil condition that the IIW team worked to resolve.
With some ingenuity, IIW developed a solution and conducted an economic analysis of excavating soft soil materials under the building and placing engineered fill beneath the foundations above till instead of lowering the site and requiring the removal of excessive material. This approach provided the basis to establish the most economical method of providing good foundation conditions while maintaining site grades. The civil engineering team was able to “balance the site” and by doing so, all of the existing site soil was re-used on the site. This saved the district the costs of hauling away excess soil and bringing in additional soil.
IIW provided land surveying and civil engineering services, including erosion and sedimentation control, earthwork, site utilities, pavement design, and traffic circulation. Among the special design elements is the design of a 9.3-acre wetland and retention pond. During construction, IIW assisted with engineering services.