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Cardozo High School

Washington, D.C.

General Contractor: GCS/Sigal
Architect: Grimm & Parker
Engineer: Allen and Shariff Engineering
Contract Amount: $20,378,586
Start Date: May 7, 2012
Completion Date: August 15, 2013


Cardozo Senior High School is a LEED Gold design/assist public high school renovation project located on 1200 Clifton Street N.W. in Washington, D.C. Shapiro & Duncan was proud to work on this project as we are actively involved in the D.C. Students Construction Trade Foundation, which supports the Academy of Construction and Design at Cardozo for students in grades 10 through 12. The academy encourages students to stay in school and graduate by introducing them to education, employment, entrepreneurship and career development strategies in the construction industry. Included in this project are renovated state of the art classroom/labs for trades such as carpentry, HVAC and sheet metal.

As expected with any school project, the aggressive schedule was one of our major challenges. Site conditions only allotted an eight month window to furnish and install over 200 pieces of mechanical equipment with associated controls, piping, ductwork and accessories.

But an even bigger challenge proved to be getting the equipment installed, especially the air handlers, into their designated locations. Access to these equipment locations was limited because of the need to maintain the historic integrity of the school building, which was constructed in 1913. Shapiro & Duncan’s project management team worked with the air handler manufacturer to ship the units in manageable sections so that they could be hoisted into the subbasement of the building. In addition, more than 100 water source heat pumps (WSHPs) had to be installed in a series of subterranean tunnels.


The new mechanical system at Cardozo High School is a condenser water system with WSHPs serving the majority of the building, including classrooms, atriums and other common areas.
Our solution for locating the WHSPs in the tunnel was to employ the services Shapiro & Duncan’s building information modeling (BIM) team. Even though it was not required by the contract, our BIM team took it upon themselves to draw the tunnels and associated equipment in 3D to make sure we could clearly see all space constraints. We also held extensive coordination meetings with other trades, including plumbing, pipefitting and sheet metal installation, to ensure all the systems and equipment would fit in the tunnels.

Shapiro & Duncan’s 51,000-square-foot fabrication shop in Landover, MD also played a key role in our solution. To speed up installation, our project team relied heavily on the fab shop to do prefabrication of the mechanical room piping.


The Shapiro & Duncan team finished this project ahead of schedule and under budget. The customer, D.C. Public Schools Department of General Services, was very happy with the end result. In recognition of the outstanding quality of our work, Shapiro & Duncan has been nominated by general contractor GCS/Sigal for a 2014 Craftsmanship Award from the Washington Building Congress.

The successful outcome of this project highlights once again Shapiro & Duncan’s status as a valued industry leader in mechanical solutions.