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Sunny Isles Beach Community School K-8

When designing the Sunny Isles Beach K-8 Community School, the site was a major restriction: While a school of this size (211,000 square feet) would normally be built on a 7- to 8-acre site, the designers had just 2.1 acres to work within. They came up with a vertical design solution, making Sunny Isles the only four-story Tilt-Up school in Miami-Dade County.

While the design necessitated extremely large panels, the limited site meant that space for casting and erection was at a premium. To coordinate this, crews devised a detailed layout pattern and pouring and lifting sequence. In addition, the site presented poor soil quality, so the design team decided to place the building on auger cast pilings and grade beams. The first floor slab beams are supported by pilings, while the upper floors utilize a P.S.I. joist and composite slab.

Even with these challenges, the design team was able to create a visually arresting structure with features such as intersecting concrete planes at the entry, a cantilevered exterior staircase and connecting second-floor concrete bridges. Bold yellow and blue highlights bring out key architectural features against a backdrop of light blue and gray. Some panels were cast in a horizontal rib formliner to add texture.

Completed in just 26 months from design commission to opening for student education, the school came in within its $36-million budget, and provides students with 83 classrooms, a media center, a cafetorium and administrative areas, as well as specialty music, art and science labs.

Main banner image for Sunny Isles Beach Community School K-8

Project Location

Sunny Isles Beach, FL 33160
United States

This project was a 2009 TCA Tilt-Up Achievement Award winner.

Project Images


Project Team (TCA Members)

General Contractor:
Concrete Contractor:
Johnson Structural Group Inc
Meadow Burke

Project Specifics

Project Category:
Building Types:
Number of Floors:
Number of Panels:
85 panels
Total Floor Area:
211,000 sq ft (19,602 sq m)
Project Footprint:
58,000 sq ft (5,388 sq m)
Tallest Panel:
84 ft 9 in (25.83 m)
Widest Panel:
34 ft 10 in (10.62 m)
Longest Spandrel:
48 ft 6 in (14.78 m)