Ready for Back-to-School

Ready for Back-to-School

Summertime is anything but lazy in the world of K-12 construction management. The weeks spanning the end of one school year and the start of the next tend to be the busiest for us. It’s when we kick things into high gear and tackle projects of every size without worrying about disrupting the important work of our clients’ bustling campuses while school is in session. The harder we work during the summer, the more campus improvements get completed by the time students and staff return to school in the fall.

The summer of 2023 was no exception. In addition to the support we provide clients planning for future improvements, we’ve been busy on many active sites in recent months. Here are a few snapshots:

Berkeley Unified School District. The Berkeley team wrapped up several projects by summer’s end. They put in new windows at the Adult School, painted at Thousand Oaks Elementary School, repaired damages on the Emerson Elementary façade and completed the first phase of work on the Berkeley Technology (“B-Tech”) Academy CTE project, as shown in the photo above. (The second phase of the B-Tech project is now underway.) Project Manager Eduardo Rivera-Garcia noted that small modernization projects like these always come with surprises, but the team was ready for them all. “Our contractor and design team on the B-Tech CTE project were great about communicating in a direct, expeditious manner to find solutions for unforeseen challenges – all with minimal impact to the project allowance,” said Eduardo.

Windsor Unified School District. Team VPCS has been busy in the North Bay this summer, finishing some important work in time for the new school year in Windsor. Notably, the new two-story portable replacement building at the Cali Calmécac Language Academy now offers 14 classrooms, fresh paint, a new play area and two shade structures. Plus, new roofs, gutters and downspouts can now be found at Windsor High School and Windsor Middle School. Our team also assisted with the facility master plan update to support the bond that the district plans to put on the ballot in the fall of 2024. We completed the new two-story building under budget and within our construction schedule, even though we were up against supply chain issues and weather events that could have delayed our construction timeline. Our long-time partners at Arntz Builders contributed immensely toward the success of this project. We also commend VPCS newcomer Project Engineer Aaron Brazier, who came onto the team with an enthusiastic willingness to dive right in.

Piner-Olivet Unified School District. In this Santa Rosa district, we put the finishing touches on a handful of projects in time to welcome students back to school this fall. We oversaw IT upgrades throughout the district, replaced the roof at Northwest Prep Charter School and completed the modernization of Olivet Elementary School’s multi-purpose room.

Wright Elementary School District. VPCS spent the summer leading the effort to replace the roofing and HVAC mechanical systems at Robert L. Stevens Elementary School in Santa Rosa – one of the firm’s greatest accomplishments of the season, according to Senior Project Manager Brian Cameron. “We came into the project with virtually no input on design or procurement, but worked closely with the contractor, architect and client to ensure that the school would have HVAC and power by the start of school,” said Brian. “When we ran into supply chain issues with the HVAC units and some of the required electrical panels, our team worked together to come up with a contingency plan to make sure the R.L. Stevens students could return to school with a fully functioning facility.”

East Side Union High School District. Of our many active ESUHSD projects, two were completed this summer: site utilities fire service work at Mt. Pleasant High School (part of a district-wide effort) and renovations to the library/multi-purpose room at William C. Overfelt High School. Additional projects that we kicked off and are still underway include the performing arts building at Piedmont Hills High School, modernization efforts in Building 500 at Mt. Pleasant High School, the Building K modernization at Oak Grove High School and the site utilities fire service work (now 75% complete) at Oak Grove High School. According to Project Assistant Evelyn Te Policriti, “It takes a village to make these projects come to fruition. Our ESUHSD construction management team is dedicated to working hard to ensure that the client is happy and satisfied,” said Evelyn.

Atwater Elementary School District. Senior Project Manager Mary Ann Duggan reported that her team has completed work on Juniper Elementary School, a new 10-acre, 600-student campus that is now ready to welcome students after an 18-month construction period. The $34.2 million effort delivered 26 classrooms; new administration, library and multi-purpose buildings; play and shade structures; a track and field; parking lots and off-site traffic and pedestrian features. Mary Ann credited the project partners for their good work, including CT Brayton & Sons (general contractor), Meehleis Modular Buildings, Teter Architects & Engineers, United Inspections, KI (furniture) and Miracle Play Systems (play structures).

Pleasanton Unified School District. Our team in Pleasanton maintained a steady pace this summer, completing approximately $12 million worth of projects as part of the $395 Measure I-1 bond passed in November 2022: roofing and HVAC replacements at four sites; room upgrades at Pleasanton and Harvest Park Middle Schools; new fencing and signage at Lydiksen Elementary School; exterior wall waterproofing at Hart Middle School and exterior painting at Donlon Elementary School. The team also started multiple other projects throughout the district that are close to completion. Project Manager Jenny Choi, who helps run VPCS’s efforts in Pleasanton, said, “It feels great to know we created a plan for summer construction and executed things so well. Minh Dao and Ben Kerr did an especially great job picking up pieces and managing unforeseen details around the district all summer, while Thida On and Merry Te provided a lot of support as well.”

Napa Valley Unified School District. Our Napa team has been busy planning the first few projects that will move forward as part of the American Canyon Measure A2 bond program that passed last November. These initial projects will include exterior improvements at two elementary schools, a new track/field for the middle school and new construction and modernization of existing buildings at an elementary school. Project Manager Jennifer Kerr praised all members of her team, singling out the great work of the newest member, Project Engineer Felicia Silveira. “Felicia started with us this spring and has quickly gotten the hang of things, already running some of our smaller construction projects. We appreciate all of her hard work,” said Jennifer.

Winters Joint Unified School District. Work was completed this summer on the new state-of-the-art Winters High School Physical Education and Music Building, which features all-new equipment and spacious classrooms designed to inspire excellence in the fields of PE and music. A grand opening and special ribbon cutting ceremony was held earlier this month, attended by community leaders, educators and students.

Palo Alto Unified and Washington Unified School Districts. Once school construction projects wrap up at the end of the summer, the last critical piece of the process is moving into new or renovated spaces. From mapping out what goes where to ensuring teachers’ classroom layouts match their preferences, move coordination is a bit of an art form – and it’s just one more service we provide, whether or not we’ve overseen the construction itself. Project Assistant Melanie Griffiths, who has become our resident move coordination expert, worked with Business Development Coordinator Jake Jurgenson and Asset Manager Scott Marshall to support move-in efforts in Palo Alto. Melanie also did the pre-move planning for moves on behalf of Washington Unified, where Brian Cameron, Project Assistant Angie Ramich and Director of Business Development Jennifer Gibb handled the day-of duties.

The VPCS home office. As project teams stayed busy in the field, our headquarters staff kept things running smoothly on behalf of all of us. Operations Manager Christine Scheffer oversaw the annual employee review process, navigating a complex web of individual work schedules to coordinate reviews, while Operations Assistant Corinne Figueira handled the numerous details related to our upcoming office move. (More details on the move to come.)  Everyone at VPCS is indebted to our home office crew for their ability to keep our entire company in top working order, every season of the year!


August 28, 2023