A Kid’s Perspective: Starting in a Newly Constructed School
February 1, 2016, 2:03 pmShook Touchstone just completed the construction of a new 119,682 SF elementary school in northwest Ohio. While we are extremely proud of our work on the new Napoleon PK-8 school, we always must remember that the true significance is not the facility we built; it is the future generations of students who will benefit from studying and growing in improved learning environments. We thought “who better to evaluate the new school than the students themselves?” Meet Ryan and Nathan Lawinsky, 4th and 6th grade students, respectively. They have spent almost three weeks in their new school and already are enjoying the improved features. They were excited to share with us their experience. Shook: Tell me about some of the things you like about your new school building. RL: The new gym; it’s so big! NL: The new band room. There’s more space and there’s padding on the walls so it’s not as noisy. Shook: What new features make it easier to learn? RL: New classrooms are bigger; easier to move around. NL: New touch boards; they’re not as complicated Shook: What don’t you miss about the old school building? RL: They didn’t have A/C! NL: There was a weird smell in the old building. The new school smells fresh. Shook: How did you feel on your first day of class in the new building? RL and NL: Excited and nervous! Mom Lawinsky: The District held an open house/tour before classes started, which helped the kids find their respective classes on the first day. It also helped that each grade has different “line” of paw prints on the floor; so if a student gets lost, they simply need to follow their colored path. Shook: Is there anything else you’d like to tell us? RL and NL: The new school has lots of bright and cheery colors, which makes it more fun. There are more computers, so we don’t have to wait for one to become available. As one of the largest PK-12 builders in the state, we are constantly looking for ways to learn, improve our craft and provide more value to our clients. According to Ryan and Nathan, the new Napoleon Elementary School was a job well-done!
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Indiana Safety Award Streak
December 8, 2015, 2:37 pmFor the 5th year in a row, Shook received the Gold Summit Safety Award from the Indiana Construction Association (ICA) in the category of highway, heavy & utility prime contractor with less than 100,000 hours. The ICA stated that we received this honor because we integrate safety core business practices in our estimating and delivery systems, as well as our real-time driver safety monitoring program. This award is significant in the construction industry and especially to our organization because it recognizes how well our jobsite personnel understand and apply our corporate safety program standards—all based on confidential surveys given to jobsite personnel. Our employees must indicate Shook’s safety program is best in class in order for the ICA to honor our efforts. The award once again confirms that our corporate management leads the safety efforts; and those efforts permeate into each of our field activities. We emphasize that every task should be performed safely–no matter how large or small that task is. Our company culture has created an environment where our employees can come to work knowing their ability to go home in the same condition is a way of life–not just a wish. Shook lives the culture that “Safely is the only way to work”!
Integrated Teams Boost Success on Construction Projects
September 9, 2015, 8:14 amConstruction savvy owners have increased their demand for turn-key services and a greater level of detailed information far earlier in the project planning process. This has led designers and contractors to increase their focus on collaboration in order to provide not only planning and design services, but also budgeting and constructability support that help guide and define the design. Given this new dynamic, there are elements of which owners should be aware when hiring design and construction partners for a project. The best partnerships are intentional. Because of the complexity of planning, budgeting and executing the design and construction of many types of projects, leading owners are increasingly looking for integrated design and construction teams to deliver a turn-key service. Designers and contractors strategically align to respond to these opportunities. The most successful partnerships (and projects) are those composed of firms that have identified each other as a cultural fit and are intentionally looking for opportunities to work together. As an example, several years ago Shook Construction identified a design firm whose resume rivaled our own. By identifying and intentionally building a relationship with a firm who shared our capabilities and culture, we built a partnership whose people work well together and deliver great value for our clients. The delivery method doesn’t matter. IPD, CMR, GC, D-B. You can play acronym Bingo with the number and varieties of delivery methods that exist in the market. What is important is that delivery strategy prevents the early engagement of a turnkey team. Owners will find that intelligent design and construction firms are willing to provide upfront support and counsel, regardless of the preferred contractual method, because it is the best opportunity to learn and understand the client’s business. This enables them to show maximum value during the selection phase of the project and win the customer’s business. Shook Construction is willing to provide such initial support for little or no compensation because we have found time and again that our willingness to get involved early and provide value increases the likelihood of the project moving forward, which enhances the opportunity that we will be able to do the work. Master planning and conceptual estimating are the new normal. On the design side, owners aren’t looking just for architectural or engineering services; they also want to understand how the new or upgraded facility fits today’s business needs and how it can accommodate future growth. Designers must be capable of providing this long-term planning support as a baseline service offering. From a construction stand-point, the ability to provide real-market feedback on both the price and schedule is an invaluable planning tool for the owner’s financial forecasting. To provide this support with the little information available at the master plan phase, contractors must become more sophisticated at conceptual estimating, providing detailed cost data by filling in the blanks of the design and making educated assumptions about the project. The construction industry continues to evolve as owners require increasingly more in-depth planning and data to inform their near- and long-term facility’s needs. Hiring companies that can understand the key points discussed above and can embrace this new normal will provide the best service and solutions.
Celebrating a Successful Project and Announcing a New One
August 27, 2015, 12:41 pmChaminade Julienne High School (CJ) recently celebrated the completion of its $2.5 million renovation of Building One in downtown Dayton. Building improvements included modernized classrooms and hallways, new mechanical and lighting systems, enhanced performing arts rehearsal spaces and a complete renovation of the cafeteria. After the ribbon cutting ceremony of the Building One improvements, school officials announced its next project: the new Roger Glass Stadium. The $6 million athletic stadium will be the home for soccer, football and lacrosse games. It will feature a 99,600 SF artificial turf playing field, home field grandstands with pressbox, away bleachers, stadium lighting, a support building which includes concessions, restrooms, and storage, two ticket booth gateways, plaza for community events and an 80,600 SF practice field. The 2,150-seat stadium will open in fall 2016. Leading the construction team on these two projects is Project Manager Suzanne Whisman. Working alongside Suzanne on the Building One project was Project Superintendents Mike Poynter and Jeff Schlarman. Project Superintendent John Gudorf will be involved in the new stadium project. Shook Construction has worked with Chaminade Julienne since 2010 on their $20 million initiative as a result of their LIFT (Leading in Faith Today) campaign. These projects have included the new STEMM Center, a renovated gym, installation of the Eagle Tennis Center—the school’s first outdoor competition venue—an interior facelift to two floors in the Marianists’ building and—most recently—the above mentioned renovation of Building One.