February 20, 2004
N.C. REHAB CODE SAVES MONEY AND TIME FOR CHARLOTTE'S METRO SCHOOL
Charlotte, NC - The new North Carolina Rehab Code adopted by Mecklenburg County in the spring of 2002 has proved to be a financially prudent solution in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools' construction program. When one of the main buildings on the downtown campus of Metro School was designated to be demolished this month to accommodate construction of a new school facility, 18 classrooms of students were affected by this announcement.
One eight-classroom modular facility was purchased, but additional modular classrooms were not an option because of delivery constraints and limited space on campus. The Metro School principal, Denise Comeaux, turned to Tom O'Dell, design manager for Bovis Lend Lease. Bovis Lend Lease is responsible for CMS' construction management services. Bovis, working in tandem with the CMS facilities architect, solved this logistical construction challenge for Metro's displaced students.
Using an existing building on campus, the design team followed the new NC Rehab Code to redesign and renovate space to accommodate 10 classrooms. Once contracted, the renovation was completed in three weeks. This renovation cost approximately $175,000, saving an estimated $225,000 from what it would cost to purchase and install another 8-unit modular classroom building.
"This renovation is a real success story for taxpayers," said O'Dell. "Without the Rehab Code, it would have been impossible to get these class rooms up and running as quickly as we did and as cost-effectively."
Although cost estimates for completing this project under the regular building code are not calculated, the only other option would have been to order another modular classroom building at a much higher price tag. "Because our CMS construction team was aware of the latest building codes and regulations, this project was completed on time and on budget under a very difficult time frame," added Metro School principal, Comeaux.
(Metro School serves approximately 200 moderately to severely disabled students ranging in age from 5 to 21 who have been determined by their Individual Education Program (IEP) team to need a public separate school placement. None of the students had to be displaced from the campus during the construction period. Metro School offers instruction in the areas of functional academics, speech, language and communication, physical and occupational therapy, music, art, library skills, community-based instruction, horticulture, consumer science, prevocational and vocational skill instruction and adapted physical education.
Modeled after the success of New Jersey's rehab codes implemented in 1998, North Carolina has designated Mecklenburg County, under local jurisdiction, to take the construction lead in renovating existing facilities without compromising safety under this new code. Since New Jersey implemented this similar code, its cities have realized a dramatic increase in the number of permits for rehab. Many underused and vacant buildings are being renovated and revitalized to create new neighborhood assets that enhance city tax rolls. Incredibly, some New Jersey cities have seen as much as a 1,000 percent increase in rehab permits. Now, North Carolina joins the State of Maryland, as well as other cities throughout the United States, in exploring such codes.
The N.C. Rehab Code is a common sense approach to eliminate many unnecessary restrictions that hamper, complicate and drive up the cost of renovation of older commercial and residential properties. By complying with the federal accessibility requirements, the Rehab Code allows for flexibility and safety based on the varied and specific circumstances of an older building.
For more information about the North Carolina Rehab Code for older buildings, call 704- 432-0677 or visit the Web site
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Media contact: Alex Burnett 704-432-0361 (O) 704-579-0288 (M) or