Well this is just too amazing to not share. There’s a building company called Project Frog that aims to build schools, one component at a time, in about 90 days. It’s like 3D printing on a grand scale. Personally, I think this is very cool and could be a great way to offer brick-and-mortar schools in places that either don’t have any or are simply not up to snuff.
It’s interesting to see innovation in this space, though. Considering the massive focus by most schools and administrators on online learning these days, it’s downright refreshing to see a company tackling the problems of current physical schools. They’re not going away anytime soon so this is a good step. Below are excerpts from the official website and the fabulous Wired article which went and spoke with the Project Frog folks, so be sure to check that out for the full story.
It was a trial run for the first school in Frog’s new line, which it calls the “Impact” platform — a quickly erected, easily reproducible, cost-saving approach to schoolhouse construction that will allow schools to include advanced facilities that are unaffordable with current building techniques.
Project Frog buildings are often 40-50% more energy efficient than their traditional counterparts; with lower operating costs and lower construction costs, your resources can be focused on educating kids.
The warehouse model is 2,400 square feet of what will eventually become the new 19,000 square-foot building at Santa Ana’s El Sol Academy. Though they faced multiple delays this spring — demolition is still yet to begin at the existing location and actual construction isn’t slated to begin until July — Project Frog nonetheless says the building will be completed by Thanksgiving, just under three months later.
“If you make it simpler, it goes faster, and there’s less chance for things to go wrong,” says Ash Notaney, Project Frog’s vice president of product and innovation. He estimates the company can build a school for around $200 per square foot, as compared to an industry-standard of $280 to $300, according to Frog. General Electric believes him, and led a $22 million round of funding for Project Frog in 2011.
The savings they make this way will allow Project Frog to include features that would otherwise be engineered out, says Notaney. That means motorized blinds, acoustic ceilings, phase change temperature control, and others. In some cases — depending on climate — that means the buildings can forgo traditional HVAC infrastructure, saving further time, money, and space. That’s not something you can do when one designer is in charge of HVAC and another is in charge of insulation, Notaney says.