Building a School Out of Shipping Containers Was the Best Idea

shipping containersIn developing countries and in some parts of  the United States, there’s a rising shortage of quality schools–and fewer and fewer places to put them.

Enter in the surprisingly sustainable solution–shipping containers.

More and more schools are creating their classrooms out of shipping containers, and the response from both students and faculty has been very positive. The fact that these containers provide a portable classroom means that if the school ever needed to relocate, means it would be simple to bring the buildings along!

Waldorf School in Orange County, California is one of the schools that’s now using shipping containers for institution expansion.

All containers the Waldorf School used were made of recycled products, which shows the school’s respect for the environment. It’s amazing to see how a simple shipping container can completely transform and even more importantly, how affordable it can be.

Once we modify shipping containers, they can provide anyone with beautiful, affordable housing.

Affordable & Transportable

When you look at the finished project, it’s nearly impossible to tell that we even used shipping containers.

Because shipping container walls are solid steel, the expansion is extremely durable. Additionally, building with these shipping containers was 10 to 20 percent cheaper than it would have been if the school had used traditional construction methods. As an added bonus, we were able to do most of the construction off-site.

The environmentally friendly expansion added 10,000 square feet of classroom space.

The Numbers

In addition, educational facilities require the builder to have a unique mindset during construction. For us, that meant thinking seriously about what our work would be used for–and what we would be contributing to. Because so much of it could be installed off-site, it was minimally intrusive to the school’s normal activities. Here’s the project by numbers.shipping containers save you money

  • In total, we built 4 free-standing buildings.
  • We used 32 shipping containers total.
  • Total square footage is 10,000.
  • The lot size is 0.5 acres.
  • The whole build cost $2 million total.
  • It took 5 months to complete.
  • We built 70 percent of the building before arriving on site.

Shipping Containers Take a Lot of Steps…

While portable and affordable, even a shipping container school has a lot of steps involved. Here’s the overview.

  1. Perform all engineered container modifications and steel reinforcement.
  2. Obtain state certifications and manufacturing production.
  3. Collaborate with Kraus Construction for on-site construction.
  4. Perform custom paint job.
  5. Perform HVAC work.
  6. Ensure that cutouts (including windows and doors) and supports align with structural integrity.
  7. Craft a gymnasium with shipping container flooring.
  8. Install all electrical and lighting work.
  9. Install containers on-site.
  10. Insulate interior and exterior with rigid board.

Extra Good Stuff

To top that off, local schools in Orange County volunteered to renovate individual shipping containers in recent years. The idea is to turn the containers into classrooms that can then be shipped to needy countries. According the Orange County Register, these countries have included Nepal and South Africa.

In fact, we just sent a fully equipped shipping container library to Anguilla. Read more about this great work at the link here!

Get in touch with us today to learn more about the amazing things you can do with shipping containers. We specialize in custom projects–contact us with your ideas!

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