The Gardner School

Edina, Minnesota

Shingobee provided a complete remodel of an aging industrial building for The Gardner School in Edina, MN, in 2017. Originally built in 1969, the property’s history included use as a sound/recording studio. The renovation and conversion to a handsome, contemporary preschool / child care center revived the building and significantly improved its appearance in this office / industrial area of Edina.

The design of the renovation made economical use of the existing 20,050 square foot building by retaining the building footprint, existing shell, and many of the exterior windows. The building interior was completely demolished and rebuilt, and its main entrance was relocated from the north side, facing busy 77th Street, to the west side, facing the parking lot. The site and parking areas were restored, and an elevated playground area and safe exterior walkways added. Upscale finishes were added to the exterior of the building, which transformed it from a basic, 1960’s-era industrial building to a distinguished, upscale residential appearance.

Construction of the renovation yielded a few surprises, including load bearing walls that were constructed of sand-filled masonry for soundproofing, and exterior areas that had settled up to six feet since the building’s original construction. The challenges of demolishing interior concrete block and load bearing walls, coupled with the difficulties in constructing a foundation for the elevated playground in organic soils, made for challenges over and above the typical renovation of a building. All new plumbing, electrical, and HVAC systems were installed. The building includes a fully equipped commercial kitchen and spacious cafeteria.

Close cooperation and communication among the owner, architect, engineers, contractor, and subcontractors afforded quick resolution of issues as they arose throughout the complex renovation, and resulted in a successful conclusion to the project.

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