Mahaffey Fabric Structures was recently asked to provide a temporary fabric building for a Catholic high school in Houston, TX. The school was in the process of a major capital expansion campaign that provided them with numerous logistical challenges. The school wanted to provide their students with temporary space that could be utilized for lunch periods, as well as a place to gather on a regular basis for worship and school assemblies. The alternative solution? The students would have to eat lunch in their classroom and bus the students to a nearby church for worship and school assemblies.
Faced with these two options and the first day of school just 45 days away, the school’s leadership felt it very important for their students eat together on a daily basis and to have a temporary space to gather collectively until their construction and expansion was completed.
The school enlisted Mahaffey to design a temporary, climate-controlled space to serve as their lunch area and gathering space. This multi-purpose structure would allow classes to stay in session, while the school's new building was being completed.
Funding was an initial challenge for this project, as there were several issues to address prior to the installation. Additionally, the proposed site of the temporary fabric building had numerous drainage issues. Mahaffey's expert project management team was able to provide guidance and assistance, so the school could address these challenges directly with the city, and worked with the necessary parties to obtain the required permits.
It was also necessary to put down a vapor barrier to assist with moisture infiltration, as we were installing directly onto soil in the middle of the hot South Texas summer. Climate control was of the utmost importance.
The existing site was covered in grass and of uneven grade. During our site visit, I discussed proper crowning and establishing adequate drainage to prevent water-infiltration. All organics were removed during this process."
— Matt Hixson, Project Manager, Mahaffey Fabric Structures
In addition to the drainage issues, fire ants were prevalent in the area. We enlisted a pest control service to pre-treat the intended footprint, as well as the vapor barrier, to prevent a potential infestation.
Finally, getting the frame onto the school grounds required that we construct a temporary "bridge" over a ditch to bring the aluminum frame for the fabric structure onto the site.
Before installation of the temporary building, Mahaffey served as a consultant, helping to facilitate various pre-construction duties, including electrical, civil, permitting, and that of a general contractor.
Since weather is a major concern in the Gulf Coast, we designed a 50' x 66' MegaStructure — an industrial structure best suited for semi-permanent applications and in areas with harsh climate conditions — with our Expo-Deck flooring system and structure lighting. Insulated hard sides, glass doors, and HVAC provided a climate-controlled environment for the students.
The temporary structure, which required minimal foundation work, allowed regular use of a cafeteria and gymnasium, while the school's permanent facility was being constructed.
Mahaffey’s extensive experience installing these fabric buildings allowed us to mobilize quickly, exceeding the client’s deadline by 10 days.