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Building with Tilt-Up | Project Profiles

Sunny Isles Beach Community School K-8

TCA Tilt-Up Project Profile - Educational Division

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When designing the Sunny Isles Beach K-8 Community School, the site was a major restriction: While a school of this size (211,000 square feet) would normally be built on a 7- to 8-acre site, the designers had just 2.1 acres to work within. They came up with a vertical design solution, making Sunny Isles the only four-story Tilt-Up school in Miami-Dade County.

While the design necessitated extremely large panels, the limited site meant that space for casting and erection was at a premium. To coordinate this, crews devised a detailed layout pattern and pouring and lifting sequence. In addition, the site presented poor soil quality, so the design team decided to place the building on auger cast pilings and grade beams. The first floor slab beams are supported by pilings, while the upper floors utilize a P.S.I. joist and composite slab.

Even with these challenges, the design team was able to create a visually arresting structure with features such as intersecting concrete planes at the entry, a cantilevered exterior staircase and connecting second-floor concrete bridges. Bold yellow and blue highlights bring out key architectural features against a backdrop of light blue and gray. Some panels were cast in a horizontal rib formliner to add texture.

Completed in just 26 months from design commission to opening for student education, the school came in within its $36-million budget, and provides students with 83 classrooms, a media center, a cafetorium and administrative areas, as well as specialty music, art and science labs.


Project Specifics

Total Panels (Single Building)
85 panels
Project Floor Area
211,000 sq ft
(19,602 sq m)
Project Footprint
58,000 sq ft
(5,388 sq m)
Tallest Panel
84 ft 9 in
(25.83 m)
Widest Panel
34 ft 10 in
(10.62 m)
Longest Spandrel Panel
48 ft 6 in
(14.78 m)

Participating TCA Members

Johnson Structural Group Inc
Structural engineer
Meadow BurkeSustaining Member icon
Lifting hardware, Braces
Nox-Crete Products GroupSustaining Member icon
Bond breaker, Form release
Textured Coatings of America Inc

About the TCA

Founded in 1986, the Tilt-Up Concrete Association (TCA) strives to improve the quality and acceptance of site-cast Tilt-Up construction, a method in which concrete wall panels are cast on-site and tilted into place. Tilt-Up construction is one of the fastest growing industries in the United States, combining the advantages of reasonable cost with low maintenance, durability, speed of construction and minimal capital investment. At least 10,000 buildings, enclosing more than 650 million square feet, are constructed each year using this construction method.

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