The Early Childhood Center in Ada, Oklahoma is a perfect example of using ICFs to create the perfect learning environment.

BuildBlock Insulating Concrete Forms (ICFs) are the best choice to build any size school. Disaster resilience in any weather condition, extreme fire resistance, outstanding noise cancellation for quiet classrooms, unmatched comfort, reduced maintenance, and extreme energy efficiency deliver the best value for your investment.

Project Description

The Early Childhood Development Center in Ada, Oklahoma is a perfect example of using ICFs to create the perfect learning environment. This massive 45,000 square foot school is cool in the summer, warm in the winter and prepared to stand up Oklahoma’s turbulent tornado season.

The center, constructed of BuildBlock Insulating Concrete Forms (ICFs), serves a dual purpose. Completed in 2011 it serves as an educational facility for the Ada School District as well as a community safe room in the event of inclement weather. The insulating concrete forms are comprised of two 2 ½ inches of expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam panels connected by eight strong, high-density plastic webs. The forms are secured with rebar and filled with concrete, providing a monolithic concrete wall that is impenetrable by tornadoes and hurricanes. The structure is also extremely fire and earthquake resistant and meets all of today’s building codes as well as those anticipated in the future.

All classrooms and offices were constructed out of 4” ICF walls including a majority of the interior walls. Using ICFs through the whole project maximizes the structures energy efficiency and soundproofing capabilities. The cafeteria was constructed with 6” ICF walls and the gymnasium, which is designed to be used as a storm shelter, utilized BuildBlocks 12” block. This gives the wall a hefty 12″ thick concrete core. The gym is topped off with a 24” thick concrete roof, making it the absolute best place to take shelter during a storm.

A school of this size annually spends over $70,000 in utilities, but ICFs help to drastically reduce that cost, as much as 30%. When the school was being built Ada Superintendent Pat Harrison made a special point to comment on the savings and what that means for the community.

“We don’t get an opportunity to build a new school every day. The school will be in a noisy location and ICFs provide sound mitigation that will be beneficial for our students and our staff.”

Harrison also noted that traditional building methods were not cost-effective for this project. “We will save money on labor and time savings on installing the insulated concrete forms,” he noted. “However, we will receive more significant savings through the energy efficiency proved by the insulating concrete forms,” Harrison said he was excited to learn that the district could save up to 30 percent on their utility costs by constructing the facility with ICF. “We’re trying to be good stewards of the taxpayer money.”

Ada’s Early Childhood Center is one of the largest projects in the country utilizing insulating concrete forms, encompassing more than 100,000 square feet of the product.

School districts around Oklahoma, as well as other commercial business, are taking note of the energy efficiency gained from ICF construction as well as increased safety for their customers and employees. Building sustainable safe structures designed to last for centuries is a legacy we are glad to pass on to the next generation.

Project Specifications

Project Name
Early Childhood Center
Ada, Oklahoma
Project Start
August 2010
Project Finish
August 25, 2011
Project Size
45,000 SF
Project Type
Elementary School
ICF Wall Square Footage
52,000 SF
Interior Walls
8,500 SF
General Contractor
Boldt Construction
ICF Installer
Insulating Concrete Forms & Commercial Structures
Don Childers – Childers Architects
Advanced Technology Engineering Group

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