At the regularly scheduled February Board of Education meeting, the School Board gave the nod to the district architect to proceed with schematics that will incorporate the use of Insulated Concrete Forms (ICF) for the proposed addition to Zitzman Elementary. This elementary addition is part of the capital improvements being presented to MVR-III residents under Proposition 1, a no-tax-levy increase proposal on the April 6th ballot. The benefits of building with ICF include improved safety for students and staff, increased energy efficiency, improved sound quality, and decreased construction time. ICF is 10 times stronger than framed structures, resulting in buildings constructed with this product surviving wildfires, hurricanes, and tornadoes, while structures made from more traditional approaches did not. In addition, ICF offers increased ballistic and blast protection.
So, what is ICF? In short, ICF is basically a concrete form made of dense styrofoam. These forms are stacked to form a wall, with rebar added and concrete poured inside the forms to make the wall. The thickness of the forms range from six to twelve inches wide, based on varying factors. Once poured, the two and a half inches of styrofoam on both sides of the concrete wall act as interior and exterior insulation for the building.
The district administration has been working with its design team to explore ICF as an option, including visiting school districts in neighboring states that have used ICF for many years. In addition, visits were made to private sector facilities in the St. Louis area that incorporated ICF in the construction. After conducting detailed research, it was determined that the ICF product has a projected cost similar to the traditional block structures used in schools, with the potential of being slightly less expensive. Coupled with the improved efficiency, sound quality, and safety it provides, ICF was an easy choice. Meramec Valley R-III School District will be one of the first school districts in the State of Missouri to use ICF in the construction of a school facility.
MVR-III School Board member, Lou Vondera, stated “With the hopeful passage of Proposition 1, we are excited about the potential usage of Insulated Concrete Forms (ICF) on the expansion of Zitzman Elementary. We hope to realize the cost saving benefits (initial construction, energy efficiency), safety (can withstand 250 mph winds, FEMA Saferoom approved), and ease of future modifications. It is our hope and goal, after a successful completion of Zitzman Elementary, to implement the usage of ICF district wide on future projects. We are striving to be looked at by other districts for innovation and implementation of construction technology to better serve our students, staff and community.”
MVR-III superintendent, Dr. John Mulford, shared, “We are excited to potentially be one of the first school districts in our state to utilize insulated concrete forms for capital improvements. Given the many positive benefits for schools and comparable construction cost, we can’t believe this approach isn’t more common in Missouri. Any time we can improve safety and efficiency, while also keeping costs the same or less, that’s a win for our district. Of course, our ability to proceed with this project is dependent on the passage of Proposition 1 on April 6th. ”
To learn more about Insulated Concrete Forms (ICF), use the following link: https://www.icfmag.com/2020/07/benefits-of-living-in-an-icf-home/.