Discovery Homes is a homebuilder in Northern California with experience reaching back to 1938. Dedicated to the entire customer buying experience, Discovery is motivated by the desire to enhance the lives of their homebuyers, according to Dana Owyoung, the director of residential operations and product development. It was because of this desire to enhance lives that Discovery Homes get involved with the School of Imagination & Happy Talkers, a nonprofit organization that provides speech, occupational and behavioral therapy services as well as inclusion educational opportunities where special needs preschool and kindergarten children learn alongside their typically developing peers.
Since the school started from inside the home of its founders in 2001, it has served more than 3,000 children. With such growth and success came a need for space. "As the program grew, we moved to eight temporary facilities within four years," said Mitch Sigman with the School of Imagination. "With more than 300 children coming through our doors each week, we're on the brink of having to close down our program."
Discovery Homes and the city of Dublin, Calif., stepped in to provide the school with a permanent home inside of Schaefer Ranch, one of Discovery's developments. Discovery wanted to build a facility with the quality and care it takes when creating new homes. In order to make the 12,000 sq. ft. dream a reality, Discovery needed building materials it could rely on.
"We went to our trade partners for help," Owyoung said. "We were working with LP on our housing in Schaefer Ranch. Because we trusted these products on our homes, we knew they'd be a good fit for the school." LP donated LP® SmartSide® Trim & Siding, LP® TechShield® Radiant Barrier Sheathing, LP® TopNotch® Sub-Flooring, LP® OSB Sheathing, and LP® SolidStart® Engineered Wood Products.
"We use LP OSB products extensively in all of our homes. It's a very good, competitively priced structural product for both sheathing and sub-flooring and was perfect for the school," Owyoung said. "The TechShield sheathing we used on the roof has helped us reduce the tonnage of the HVAC units in our homes and get credits to meet our mandatory energy compliance codes."
In addition to his role as the director of residential operations, Owyoung also serves as the corporate architect for Discovery Homes and for this particular project. Because of the variety of programs the School of Imagination offers, Owyoung created large open classrooms to provide multipurpose spaces. He used LP SolidStart LVL, Rim Board, and I-Joists to provide stability in these rooms. He said he found the products to be "very true and stable for construction" with "precise dimensioning." Because the school was built in the Schaefer Ranch neighborhood, Owyoung needed lap siding to mirror the development's American farmhouse look. He said LP SmartSide Siding fit right into this need and offered easier installation than other products he's used.
"My installers says the lap siding went up really well because of it's true dimension and doesn't warp or twist like solid sawn wood. We can use longer pieces without worrying about breakage like we've encountered when using fiber cement products in the past," Owyoung said.
The school was completed in 2011 and held its grand opening on Oct. 14.
When former Mayor Janet Lockhart came to us and told us the school was looking for a new home, we were on board. We donated land from our Schaefer Ranch development and began construction," Owyoung said. "The donation from LP really helped up make this build possible, and since LP's products are built to last the school now has room to grow.