Education is the KEY(S) to Success

Monroe County, which includes the mainland Everglades and islands that comprise the Florida Keys, is one of the most hurricane prone areas in the United States. With a population over 80,000 people, 99.9 percent of Monroe County’s population resides in the islands of the Florida Keys.

According to 2022 Florida Statutes, many public schools, as stated by the Department of Education, have emergency management plans in place and are used as hurricane shelters when a state of emergency is enacted. But what does a hurricane shelter look like? Hurricane evacuation shelters must be assured against hazards including surge inundation, rainfall flooding, high winds, hazardous material and more.

Pennoni’s structural team in Florida with architect, Harvard Jolly Architecture, recently completed Gerald Adams Elementary School in Key West, FL. This state-of-the-art school and 21st Century Community Learning Center will provide leading edge technology for students and people in the community. The $38 million-dollar, multi-level facility sits just a few minutes’ walk from the Gulf of Mexico, providing students an oceanfront view while obtaining a first-class education. 

Pennoni provided advanced industry services such as REVIT modeling and 3D finite element structural design through RAM Structural System, which allowed for precise coordination and an economical design. The design team worked together with local officials and Monroe County School District to strategically place the building on the site to avoid the FEMA V-flood zone which would have triggered a much different and more costly design. The building is designed for 200 mph (ultimate 3-second gust) wind speeds due to its location in an extremely high hurricane prone region and will be used as a designated shelter in such an event.

Gerald Adams Elementary is just one of 12 schools Pennoni’s Florida team has worked on for the Monroe County School District. As trusted service providers for the district for more than 30 years, Pennoni has helped secure the schools, the students that learn in them and the those who are in search of safety in a crisis. The diversity of projects includes waterfront student dormitory design, elementary, middle and high school design, athletic facility and stadium design, Category 1 through 5 hurricane shelter design and more!

Pennoni prides itself on being able to provide clients specialized services and look forward to more projects with the Monroe County School District.

For more information on this project or Pennoni’s service offerings in Southern Florida, contact Justin Duncan or Mike McCarthy.


Get in touch with our Smart Solutions experts today!