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The Waldorf School of Orange County, located in Costa Mesa, CA recently added 10,000 square feet of classroom space, which they achieved by using recycled shipping containers as the main building materials. It is very nice to see these sustainable building blocks used on larger scale projects where cost and speed is not the main reason for their use.

This sustainable expansion cost $2 million and it is the first such project when it comes to Orange County schools, while also being the biggest and most ambitious eco-friendly project in the region. They used 32 shipping containers for the expansion, which were supplied by the company Con Global. The new building consists of four classrooms, several restrooms, a science lab, an art studio, a virtual library, student lounge, an auditorium, and administrative offices. The auditorium is two stories high and is made up of 9 shipping containers, while the classrooms were built out of four shipping containers each.

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The cutting and shaping of the containers was done off site, as was most of the interior framing and electrical components installation. Once the pre-cut containers were brought to the building site, it took about two weeks for the workers to install the drywall and insulation, and to paint them. Apart from a few of the interior walls, which were left bare for the purposes of advertising the fact that the building was made out of shipping containers, there is little about the structure to suggest it was made using cargo containers.

The builders estimate that they saved about 10-20 percent in building costs because they opted to use shipping containers instead of completing the project using traditional construction methods. The complex is made up of four free standing buildings and took just under 100 days to complete.