Escuela Tecnico Maya has been under construction for one year! Check out our first design + construction update of 2010 . .  

In December ‘09 work continued on the two existing retaining walls and LWH hosted a tire retaining wall workshop for a group of Guatemalanworkers from Uspantan, a town 6 hours to the North. The men from Uspantan are building a large tire retaining wall to secure the unstableland next to the primary school their kids attend. They spent 3 days in Comalapa learning the method of tire building LWH has been utilizing, and gaining experience while helping us continue building our walls. LWH also provided planning and construction advice for their project, as well as visited their building site. Construction at the school halted over Christmas and New Years while the construction crew was on vacation.   

On January 4th the construction site came to life with the return of 6 full time Guatemalan workers, 25 college students on winter break and a two-person film team. The expanded crew worked to cob the interior of the three existing rooms, which will be vocational workshops. The cob finish, consisting of mud and pine needles, is mixed by hand and foot, and then applied directly to the tire walls by throwing hand fulls, as if throwing a ball. After an area has been sufficiently covered with cob wood floats are used to level and flatten the cob into a smooth wall finish, leaving certain locations uncovered for electrical conduit and outlet boxes. 3-inch nails or screws are then inserted into the cob finish, at every 12”, to help the next layer of finish, a smooth stucco, adhere better. In the remaining weeks of January the concrete floors and outdoor patio will be poured, the ceilings and walls will be finished with stucco, the exterior will be cobbed and finished, and doors and windows will be installed.  


Additionally site work is underway for Phase II – the primary school classrooms located on the upper terrace. With EWB currently on site to survey, and machinery leveling in February, construction of the first classroom utilizing rammed-earth bags, will begin in April. I am refining the design and location of the classrooms, adding volunteer housing to the master plan, working with a solar panel consultant in Arizona, a structural consultant in Texas and preparing drawings to aid in excavation and drainage planning. Coming up . . . interior finishes on workshops, glass bottles at facade and excavating for classromm level. Tomorrow we pour the concrete patio floor!