Founded in 1971, Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center in Finland, Minn. was the first environmental learning center nationally accredited as a K-12 school. More than 15,000 people all over the region stay at the facility for several days to immerse themselves in developing the knowledge, skills, motivation and commitment to create a quality environment.
Katy School TX, Katy, TX, USA
Southern school district leverages Uponor PEX
A growing student population needs improved school facilities
High schools are an opportunity-rich haven for young adults looking to grow, thrive and inspire those around them. For the quickly expanding, 80,000-student, Katy, Texas, Independent School District (ISD), the eighth high school in the district, Patricia E. Paetow High School, and the ninth school, Jordan High School, are meeting the growing student population with new, state-of-the-art facilities.
Originally specified with copper and CPVC, the school district was looking for other options to value engineer the Paetow project. Plumbing contractor Letsos Company of Houston looked to add PEX to the specification after their success in the Houston waterway project.
PEX piping solutions add value and benefits to the projects
Mike Rostvold, technical sales representative at Uponor, and Jim McStravock of Pepco Sales, met with the engineer as well as the school district’s maintenance staff and head of construction to educate on the properties and benefits of PEX.
“The maintenance staff loved it — the ease of the system with no torches or glues, the longevity, the warranty,” says Rostvold. “After the meeting, the district rewrote their spec to include PEX.”
Ironically, while PEX wasn’t in the Katy ISD design standard, it was installed in eight schools previously, being accepted as a value-engineered product.
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Paetow High School
- 635,000 square feet
- $196 million project
- Originally specified with copper and CPVC
- District rewrote spec to include PEX
- Completed August 2017
Jordan High School
- 649,000 square feet
- $206 million project
- Uponor PEX plumbing
- Completed August 2020
- Uponor AquaPEX
Uponor products provide safety and longevity
Whether it's making improvements to aging infrastructure or facilitating new construction, Uponor total polymer solutions improve the efficiency and performance of schools' piping systems.
Uponor PEX provides safety, flexibility, cost savings, and freeze resistance
In the winter of 2017-2018, when there was freezing in the area, the only buildings that didn’t have pipe failure were the ones plumbed with PEX.
“Freeze protection is just one of the advantages of PEX,” says Anthony Gardner, senior plumbing estimator at Letsos Company. “The speed of installation, the flexibility and the material cost savings are also great benefits.”
Gardner also states that Uponor’s support services, such as field training and jobsite walkthroughs, “help tremendously” to meet tight production schedules on a project.
A senior project manager at Letsos Company, who has proposed PEX via submittal process on two hotels and a high school, agreed that Uponor’s support was invaluable, stating the design services team was “very helpful” in getting the job done.
Moving additional projects forward
Jordan High School, which opened in August 2020, saw positive results with significant labor and time savings.
“With the initial installation, we’re seeing significant cost and labor savings with pipe sizes 1" and down,” says Roy Hennick, vice president of CFI Mechanical, the plumbing contractor on the Jordan High School project. “I’d estimate about a 30% savings for the smaller pipe sizes.”
And it appears word is getting around to other school districts about the benefits of PEX.
“Now, many other school districts are jumping on board,” says Rostvold. “We just met with Houston ISD about new construction and re-pipe opportunities, and we now have 13 different K-12 school projects in process.”
Now, many other school districts are jumping on board. We just met with Houston ISD about new construction and re-pipe opportunities, and we now have 13 different K-12 school projects in process.