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Flower Hill Elementary School

A Continued Legacy for Institutional Construction Excellence:

The Flower Hill Elementary School Story


  • Commitment to institutional construction excellence. The success of this project is a testament to Shapiro & Duncan’s expertise in school construction projects
  • Outside-the-box equipment installation approach. The Flower Hill project involved installing large air handling units on the school’s roof, requiring a new steel platform, fabricated per field measurements, delivered in sections to be assembled on-site.
  • Implement innovative solutions to modernize outdated systems. Flower Hill Elementary School needed updates to several of its critical mechanical systems for more efficient functioning.


Shapiro & Duncan’s task included modernizing critical systems throughout the Flower Hill Elementary School. As the work was underway, several vital challenges arose throughout, such as:

  • Modernizing old systems to achieve more outstanding performance and efficiency.
    • Several old, outdated pneumatic systems needed replacement to modernize the school with new equipment and new digital control settings.
  • Unique rooftop equipment installation process.
    • Additional steelwork supported the new equipment about the size of a school bus (not the short ones). In addition to its large size, the rooftop equipment arrived in several pieces and needed to be hoisted up and assembled on-site. The drawings developed ahead of time; however, some discrepancies arose between what showed and the reallocation of several structural beams that required the Shapiro & Duncan team to re-assess and adapt the field’s plans.
  • Weather and equipment delays.
    • The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic was responsible for 2-4 week shipping delays on several equipment pieces, including fan coil units and the rooftop equipment. Schedules had to be adjusted to account for these delays, and that created some additional challenges, including the team working overtime, to ensure a timely finish. Concerns about exposing the school building to the elements while work was in progress also was a challenge in phasing and sequencing activities.


Shapiro & Duncan took a coordinated, sequenced approach to ensure the completion of tasks on time and that external factors, such as equipment and weather delays, were mitigated. The Shapiro & Duncan team met with all sub-contractors before the project start date to receive input on expected timeframes to accomplish each task. Each team member was held accountable for that task to ensure the execution in the expected time.

New equipment installation began with roughing in power, new control wirings, and HVAC piping at the halfway point in the demo process. Additionally, in the demolition process, damage was discovered with some of the school’s existing masonry and plaster walls. These repairs added to the tasks that had to be completed before the installation of new equipment.

The new equipment included:

  • 5 Petra rooftop units, with associated piping, valves, control wiring, ductwork, and power feeds;
  • A 15′ x 20′ steel dunnage and access platform to support each piece of rooftop equipment;
  • 53 Krueger fan coil units, with associated piping and control wiring to serve classrooms and offices;
  • 6 Armstrong centrifugal base-mounted pumps, with associated piping, control valves, control wiring, and power feeds;
  • 2 Samsung split systems, one serving food storage and one serving the main office;
  • A new DDC system with control wiring
  • Modernize old systems to achieve more outstanding performance and efficiency.
    • At the outset of the project, the Shapiro & Duncan team immediately coordinated with Montgomery County Public Schools and architectural. Engineering firm contacts to receive approval for the release of rooftop units for fabrication to mitigate the effects of the 20-week lead time quoted from the vendor.
    • The subcontracting teams reviewed the construction schedule and scope tasks to ensure proper planning for timely completion.
    • The teams worked in close collaboration with subcontractors and our VDC team and Fab Shop to streamline the process, ensuring the efficient installation of equipment. The VDC team and Fab Shop coordinated, detailed, prefabricated, and installed all of the unit piping and valve packages at our Landover facility, which provided the Shapiro & Duncan team on-site ready to run units ready for final connection and start-up.
    • Control sequences and fan speeds were modified to provide increased ventilation and air filtration upgrades to improve indoor air quality. This was an additional step to ensure the new systems were as effective as possible to keep students and staff healthy.
  • Unique rooftop equipment installation process.
    • The modernization of systems required new equipment on the roof of Flower Hill Elementary School. As this equipment was large and heavy, additional steel structures were built to support its weight.
    • The equipment came from Jordan and arrived later than expected, requiring the team to work additional 10-hour weekday shifts and 8-hour Saturdays to get the job done and school ready to open to students and staff.
  • Weather and equipment delays.
    • A sequenced approach and out-of-the-box thinking were essential to the completion of each phase of the project.


  • We achieved all tasks and milestones by the August 17, 2020 target date. The new systems will keep the school at top efficiency for the next 15-20 years.
  • Shapiro & Duncan’s team’s dedication and expertise, both pre-construction and in the field, enabled them to efficiently navigate the delays and curveballs the Flower Hill Elementary School project presented. The team’s dedication was also evident in their willingness to put in extra time in the evenings and weekends to complete the work.
  • The Flower Hill Elementary School project continues to build on Shapiro & Duncan’s rich history in school projects in the area.