Thornton Tomasetti provided complete structural engineering, foundation design and exterior wall coordination for the NYC Prototype School Program. In response to the rapid growth in student population, P.S. 7Q, along with P.S. 15B, 20B and 43Q, were developed as a part of the program. Each 1,200-student elementary school utilizes modular building components arranged in different configurations to adapt to varying city sites. The schools have distinct prototypical modules for the classrooms/administration, special education and common use facilities. Each prototype school contains classrooms, auditorium, media library center, gymnasium, lunch rooms, art, science and computer rooms, medical suite, community activity room with outdoor landscaped playgrounds.
The schools’ open environment promotes interactive learning. Unique ceiling trellis in each classroom are used to display projects and learning materials. Colorful corridors have reading niches and tack boards for students work. High double hung insulating glass windows and glass sidelights provide ample natural light. Custom ceiling hung light fixtures provide three different lighting levels for varying classroom activities. A percent of the construction costs is set aside to provide unique artist-designed works in each of the prototype schools.
The building structures are reinforced concrete and steel. Durable glazed c.m.u., hardwood millwork, resin countertops and stainless fixtures and hardware provide for long term use. The exterior wall design features norman face brick, precast architectural concrete and limestone. The energy efficient wall system uses rigid insulation in the air cavity between the brick and c.m.u. backup to minimize thermal bridging.