Wadena – Deer Creek New High School

In 2010, a severe tornado passed through Wadena and surrounding areas and destroyed the Wadena-Deer Creek High School. Immediate action was required, and it was quickly decided that a new high school should be constructed as opposed to rebuilding the old school. KFI was contracted to provide LEED mechanical and electrical engineering services for the construction of the new school.

The new school was designed to be a high performance educational facility, which would provide the students with a better learning environment while improving energy efficiency, and in-turn lower operational costs. Energy modeling was conducted by KFI which compared two different options for the mechanical systems, both using sustainable technology. The options were presented to the project team, both options showed the payback periods for each system, the owner then made their selection based on which system would be right for the school. KFI then incorporated the selected system into the mechanical and electrical design and performed construction administration services for the project. Included within the design work performed by KFI was fire protection design and engineering services. Fire protection piping and head layout were included in the construction documents provided to the project team. The school has since achieved a LEED Gold rating.

Highlights of the project include:

Safe Room

Included in the project was the design and construction of a 7,500 square foot FEMA 361 rated safe room. This safe room doubles as a multi-purpose gymnasium for classes and sporting events but its systems are capable of operating completely independent from the rest of the school in the event of power failure.

A geothermal water-to-air heat pump tied into the schools geothermal loop field provides variable volume air distribution for energy savings in various scenarios, and can operate independently from the schools geothermal system. Motorized dampers and FEMA 361-rated louvers allow proper depressurization of the space during a tornado. The unit controls are integrated into the schools automation system, but can be switched to manual control for a truly stand-alone HVAC system in the event of lost communication with the schools central building automation system. The emergency lighting source is provided by a 100kW diesel generator with automatic transfer. This generator is capable of providing 24 hours of continuous power to the safe room.

Athletic Wing

Also included in the design for this school was a state of the art athletic department. This stunning athletic wing of the school contains gymnasiums with multiple courts, an elevated indoor running track around the gym, a weight room, and multiple locker rooms. In addition to the large central gymnasium, the multipurpose safe-room mentioned above, doubles as a gymnasium where basketball, volleyball, and other sports can be played.

The school opened its doors to students in the fall of 2012, and will provide the students in the Wadena-Deer Creek area a beautiful environmentally friendly school for generations to come.