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February 21, 2022

Westerville Minerva Middle School construction is underway, and our team is busy executing the first of many milestones on the schedule – the foundation and concrete retaining walls.

Westerville Minerva Middle School Rendering

The new, two-story school has a unique design that allows both floors to open directly to the surrounding campus - the upper floor to the west and the lower floor to the east. This change in grade elevation requires the use of concrete retaining walls on the lower floor to hold the earth away from the front of the building and the parking area. The lower floor provides a walkout to a courtyard with seating.

These concrete walls create a challenge in terms of schedule and sequence, as the retaining walls must be braced by supporting steel and structure before the rest of the building can take shape and grading can be completed. This feature, coupled with elements of the concrete masonry unit (CMU) design, means this building will be erected almost entirely floor by floor, rather than all at once.

Below is a breakdown of the construction process:

  1. Imported roughly 20,000 cubic yards of fill to build up the west side of the site for the upper floor entrance and parking, while cutting down the lower floor elevation and building pad.
  2. Benched back the grade for the installation of foundations and retaining walls.
  3. Laid the foundations.
  4. Formed and reinforced the retaining walls.
  5. Installed steel embed plates.
  6. Poured the concrete, including more than 1,000 cubic yards of concrete in the retaining walls alone.
  7. Removed the formwork and defects from the walls.

The next step for our team is to set CMUs and steel over the next two months to complete the structural components of the building. After the steel is in place, we will continue grading around the site and work will begin on the new façade!

About the Author


Bob HartProject Executive, Ohio

Bob is a seasoned Project Executive responsible for leading the company's project teams to deliver the highest level of service and quality for clients in all markets, specializing in K-12 construction. Bob has completed over $650 million in K-12 projects, including serving as Project Executive for numerous district improvement programs. Throughout his tenure, Bob has developed a strong understanding and appreciation for the challenges and complexities associated with K-12 project design and construction. His extensive experience working with school districts and designers enables him to explore options for construction and focus on maximizing dollars available while realizing key design goals. 

Bob grew up in Worthington, Ohio and attended Worthington City Schools.  For the last six years, Bob has volunteered for the Olentangy Facilities Development Committee. Bob became passionate about K-12 projects when he was involved with one of the first State of Ohio Emergency Response Repair School Projects. He saw firsthand the importance of educational facilities to provide a safe environment to learn and the lasting impact it has on the local community.