Penetron Helps Bring Vancouver, WA Innovation School to Life

After a ceremonial ribbon cutting celebration in August 2022, the new Vancouver Innovation, Technology and Arts Elementary School (VITA) in Vancouver, Washington, welcomed its first students to the new campus. The new school follows a project-based learning concept with a focus on arts and innovation. PENETRON ADMIX SB was specified to waterproof the concrete foundation slab and below-grade retaining walls.

A city of over 191,000 and the fourth-largest city in Washington state, Vancouver is situated on the north bank of the Columbia River and is the largest suburb of Portland, Oregon (across the river).

The new Vancouver Innovation, Technology and Arts Elementary School (VITA) accommodates 300 children in grades kindergarten through fifth grade. Applying a project-based learning concept, VITA focuses on arts and innovation. The VITA campus also includes a preschool, a center for the performing arts, and additional spaces for community and private events.

The VITA building is designed as a four-story post tensioned concrete structure that allows flexible and changing class layouts for teaching and learning. The exterior of the building is comprised of two stories of metal panels over a brick base, and a fitness area with adhered masonry cladding. Accessory structures include a generator room, trash and recycling enclosures, and an adjacent covered playground.

“The VITA elementary school is the first stage of an emerging Innovation campus for Vancouver – and to meet the needs of a rapidly-growing community,” adds Christopher Chen, Director of The Penetron Group.

Designed by LSW Architects, the $23 million VITA project was constructed by Marion Construction. The engineers at Robertson and Olsen originally specified a competitive concrete waterproofing product, but approved PENETRON ADMIX SB upon the recommendation from CalPortland, the project’s ready-mix concrete supplier.

“CalPortland suggested PENETRON ADMIX SB as the superior concrete waterproofing solution thanks to the product’s single dosage rate, convenient packaging, and lower overall costs,” confirms Christopher Chen.

CalPortland added PENETRON ADMIX SB during batching, to all concrete used for the foundation slabs and the below-grade retaining walls that protect the basement structures of the school. PENEBAR SW waterstop was used in the new concrete elements to permanently seal all construction joints – and complete the Penetron waterproofing system.

As a crystalline waterproofing admixture, PENETRON ADMIX SB reacts in a catalytic reaction with moisture in fresh concrete to generate a non-soluble crystalline formation throughout the pores and capillary tracts normally found in concrete. This formation permanently seals microcracks, pores and capillaries against the penetration of water or liquids from any direction, substantially reducing the permeability of usually porous concrete.

“As an integral waterproofing solution, PENETRON ADMIX SB provides low permeability, low shrinkage and self-healing properties, a highly effective combination for exposed concrete structures,” concludes Christopher Chen.

About The Penetron Group

The Penetron Group is a leading manufacturer of specialty construction products for concrete waterproofing, concrete repairs and floor preparation systems. The Group operates through a global network, offering support to the design and construction community through its regional offices, representatives and distribution channels.

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