Since 2007 B&D—in a joint venture with McKissack & McKissack—has served as program manager for the District of Columbia’s $4 billion public school modernization program. The goal is to fully and/or partially modernize all 123 elementary, middle, and high school buildings and their related administrative and support facilities. It is estimated that the program will require 15 years to complete, resulting in more than 12 million square feet of both renovations and new construction.
Our team is responsible for all facets of the program’s implementation, including:
• Providing strategic advice to the Department of General Services (formerly the Office of Public Education Facilities Modernization)
• Developing and periodically updating the Master Facilities Plan
• Scoping, budgeting, and scheduling each project
• Annually developing and updating of the program’s six-year Capital Improvement Plan
• Developing each project’s architectural program / Educational Specification
• Selecting and contracting with architects and design teams for each project
• Bidding and procuring construction contractors and design-builders
• Managing the design, construction, and occupancy processes for each project
• Ensuring on-time, on-budget delivery of each project while maintaining the highest quality for each
• Ensuring achievement of sustainable design goals and economic inclusion goals
The modernization program consists of the full renovation or, in some cases, demolition and reconstruction of school facilities to adhere to current standards for technology and academic programs. Each school also must meet modern requirements for life safety, accessibility, environmental sensitivity, and the general health and well-being of students, teachers, and administrators.
No two schools in this project are alike, and a unique response to each facility is needed. Because our program management team members come from a variety of backgrounds—architecture, engineering, planning, construction management—they are able to provide a unique solution for each property and fuse together the aspirations of the community with existing school conditions. We work closely with school administrators, faculty, and students at every step of the renovation/construction process. From the beginning when the team helps school members pack up and move out before construction begins, to the end when the team trains the community to give tours of the new facility, everyone is involved, giving everyone a greater sense of community ownership and pride. This community ownership and pride is also evident in the increased enthusiasm of surrounding neighborhoods. Hundreds of residents attend summertime ribbon cutting ceremonies to celebrate the opening of their new neighborhood facilities. Parents and students are increasingly involved in the modernization process via volunteer School Improvement teams and wider community outreach meetings.
All work completed to date under every modernization project and stabilization program has been finished on time and on budget. The program has been a national model of sustainable design, with each project achieving at least LEED Silver certification (including Cooke Elementary School, the first school in America certified under the USGBC’s LEED for Schools rating, and Dunbar High School, the United States’ first LEED Platinum public high school). Furthermore, the program has achieved record economic benefits for the city, as more than 50% of all contract dollars have been earned by certified local business enterprises, and more than 40% of construction hours on each project have been worked by D.C. residents. Additionally, facility improvements have contributed to improved academic performance; for the first time in decades, D.C. Public School’s enrollment and average test scores have consistently risen.
The program has earned approximately 100 industry awards for excellence in program management, design, construction, sustainability, and nearly every other capital development project component.