Simplify resilient, energy efficient construction

It’s Time for Safer Schools

When seven tornadoes ripped through the Richmond metro area with the remnants of Hurricane Florence, area school administrators declared students should shelter in place. That was a smart decision, given the circumstances and resources.

The F2 tornado that tore through Hull Street Road and destroyed the Old Dominion Flooring building killed a warehouse worker -- a beloved family man.

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The tie that binds these two events is that the building which collapsed and killed Mr. Bishop was designed and built using the same materials and methods that we use to build our public K-12 schools.

That’s right, if that F2 tornado had hit one of our area’s elementary, middle, or high schools, its effect on the school building would likely have been exactly the same as its effect on the flooring warehouse -- catastrophic collapse. With our kids inside.

The new Huguenot High School would have stood even less of a chance against that twister. It’s administrative and classroom areas are built with light gauge metal studs. Only the gym and auditorium walls are built as strong as the Old Dominion Flooring warehouse!

It doesn’t have to be this way. Modern building systems allow us to easily build reinforced concrete buildings that will withstand 250 mph winds. We can build much faster and much stronger than the old fashioned concrete block -- and it does not have to cost any more.

With the recent announcement of five new K-12 buildings in the area, we have all the resources right here in the City of Richmond to design and build world class school buildings that can stand up to whatever Mother Nature can throw at them.

Our company, PolycreteUSA, is the supplier of a commercial insulated concrete forming (ICF) system that has revolutionized energy efficient, disaster resistant construction. Polycrete makes concrete block construction obsolete. We are based right here in RVA, and the workforce to build these schools is right here in our neighborhoods.

Kentucky currently leads the nation in energy efficient K-12 construction. They have schools there that generate more electricity than they use. These schools get a check from the electric company rather than a bill. We’re talking well over $100,000 per year in avoided costs for an average-sized elementary school. The engineering firm that makes this possible is also right here in Richmond. CMTA Consulting Engineers are the leaders in Net Zero Energy K-12 design.

It’s no coincidence that most of these net-zero schools are built with ICF wall systems.

Why don’t we have schools like this in RVA?

 “Our customers are used to getting concrete block schools, so that’s the way we design them.”

“This is the way we’ve always done it.”

“It’s worked fine for 100 years, why should we change?”

PolycreteUSA is committed to the City of Richmond. Our corporate headquarters and regional warehouse is in Manchester, our employees are here, and we live here. In the interest of being a good neighbor, we are willing to provide the Polycrete ICF materials at our cost for the construction of these schools.

We are happy to meet with your neighborhood organization, church, municipal government or school board to discuss these issues in more depth. Please share or pass this letter on to your friends and neighbors. Let’s demand better and safer school buildings for our children.

Call or email us today 800-570-4313 Info@PolycreteUSA.com

2-16 Thurman St., PO Box 24185
Richmond, VA 23224

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