QuieterSchool—Port Morris Elementary School

C&S’s QuieterSchool Program designed an aircraft noise abatement program at Port Morris (PS 5) Elementary School. The school is a four-story, 81,000-square-foot public elementary school located close to LaGuardia Airport. Measurements indicated that aircraft noise in classrooms exceeded the Port Authority threshold. Analysis showed that the cumulative daytime noise levels due to aircraft noise exceeded the FAA abatement threshold. This made the instructional spaces within the school eligible for FAA-funded soundproofing. This project was supported by the NYC Port Authority and administered through the NYC School Construction Authority.

The roof and the exterior masonry walls were massive enough to block the transmission of aircraft noise, so no alterations to these systems were necessary. The windows were replaced with new acoustical windows and window guards were replaced. Exterior doors that entered directly from the exterior into an instructional space were replaced with acoustically rated galvanized steel doors.

The windows in this building stay closed to keep out the aircraft noise, so the school needed proper ventilation and air conditioning. This was accomplished using acoustically rated, floor-mounted unit ventilators in the classrooms and horizontal-type fan coil units in other areas. Where new ductwork was installed, the ceilings were replaced. Existing window air conditioner units were removed. Ventilation air is now introduced through an intake louver in the building façade. Existing openings were enlarged, a fire damper installed, and acoustical liner used in the ductwork. The existing steam and condensate risers were reattached to the new units. Classroom ventilation is exhausted through the existing uninsulated exhaust ductwork system. New built-in shelving units provided on either side of the unit ventilator replace some of the shelving displaced by the unit.

The existing electrical service did not have enough spare capacity to support the new HVAC equipment, so a new service entrance was required. Associated asbestos abatement work was performed in areas impacted by the project.

Project also involved the integration of the existing building fire alarm system with new unit ventilators in the building installed as a result of aircraft sound attenuation measures being taken in the building. Shutdown of the unit ventilators through a new direct digital control mechanical system control panel and the addition of a small fire alarm control panel for temporary trailer classrooms located on site connected to the existing building fire alarm system were also included.

Construction for this project was completed in 18 months.

Project completion: November 2007
Construction cost: $7.2 million