Discovery Meadows is a two-story, 23,500-sq.-ft. child development center designed to accommodate over 150 children, infant to six years of age, as well as an after-school program for approximately 40 school-age children of employees of this confidential pharmaceutical client. The facility includes below and above-grade levels, with the below-grade first floor featuring an open play area, project room, café, kitchenette and separate warming kitchen, mechanical and electrical rooms, storage rooms, and office space. Thanking the inner radius of the first floor are three, 30 student preschool rooms with attached restrooms for each.
The above-grade second level features infant activity rooms, living room, lactation room, learning resource center, office space, laundry facilities, reception area, and a kitchen delivery area with an elevator to the warming kitchen. Outside, the child development center has six large play areas, including separate toddler play space, a fitness area, natural area, preschool and school age areas including a basketball court.
The project includes all site work, landscaping, utilities and surface parking for 51 cars. Per an agreement with the City of Gaithersburg, the building is setback 100 ft. from the road. Trees and plantings provide screening and act as a visual, sound, and light barrier between the surrounding residential properties and the structure.
Although the child development center was built on a greenfield site, the laydown area was limited due to neighboring residential properties and land that did not belong to the client. To solve this, all dirt from the jobsite was reused instead of hauled off. While doing site work, the team uncovered 23 large boulders. The client had originally wanted to ship decorative boulders from Colorado, but the found boulders became decorative replacements for the front and back planting areas.
The project is utilizing many green building techniques and is designed to target LEED Platinum certification. The exterior is a combination of concrete and glulam laminated timber, a highly sustainable wood product. The building's mechanical system features a radiant heating system and a displacement air ventilation system, and is supported by 30 geothermal wells that go 450 ft. deep under the parking lot. The wells, found in the below-grade mechanical room, loop into the building with radiant tubing in the slab. A 3,500-gallon rain harvest tank and bioponds in front of the building, surrounded by plants, contain runoff within the site.