Year after year, school systems across the state take advantage of the summer months to address facility needs. These projects may be small like replacing light bulbs throughout the school or they could be quite large such as total gut renovation and build back and everything in between.
These summer renovations are common, because construction crews can work full days uninterrupted without worrying about disrupting the classroom or traditional operations of a school without any students on campus. Beyond that, summer work is a staple because of the funding cycles.
Each August, school districts submit their applications to the Georgia Department of Education for funding for the following year. In most cases, the funds cover small projects that include renovations, equipment upgrades, additions, modifications, ADA upgrades and other small items. Typically, RKR will see projects ranging in size from $1 - $2 million. However, this year, we saw rather large renovation projects closer to $5 million in construction value.
One project the RKR team completed was a 138,000 SF renovation and modification that was completed in 60 days. This project included new windows and doors throughout the school, new façade, new paint, roof, lights, HVAC and plumbing systems, parking lot improvements, some landscaping, bricking some of the old window openings and cutting in new openings. By the end of the summer, we put in place more than 680,000 SF of education space around the Metro-Atlanta and West Georgia area. Given the extent of the project, to accomplish all of this in a very constrained construction schedule was very impressive, even by our standards.
Geoff Smith, RKR’s Vice President of Construction, highly recommends planning ahead and bidding the project early, so that school systems can maximize their renovations. When districts bid early it allows the GC/CMs time to advertise and bid the jobs to the sub market. This is important to schools, because it helps buy out the project more efficiently and reduces the premium subs tend to charge when they are booked last minute. In an ideal world, GC/CMs would supply submittals for approval by the school districts in March. This would leave two months, April and May, to plan the work and buy out all the necessary materials. The construction teams would then be able to begin the actual work and mobilize on June 1.
If you just submitted your 2018 application, it doesn’t stop there. Consider getting your GC/CMs on board early to help you plan your summer renovations to maximize the short timeframe and budget. If you’re not quite sure what to do, please give us a call, we’d be happy to help.