Case Studies

The Bakersfield City Elementary & Middle School

Building Vital Assets in Southern California
  • Written by: The Bakersfield City Elementary & Middle School
  • Produced by: The Bakersfield City Elementary & Middle School
  • Estimated reading time: 3 mins

Bakersfield voters approved to fund the construction of a new middle school and elementary school in 2006, and the Bakersfield City School District (BCSD) will finally move in for the fall 2013 semester. When the district opened the project for bidding it wasn’t just any old group of construction managers that made the cut, and Lundgren Management Corporation (Lundgren) proved itself above the competition.

Over the course of a quarter century Lundgren has prided itself on simply delivering what was promised, and without complication. The company provides a one-two punch of construction management and general contracting services in addition to project management services and facilities management, reassuring clients that its talented professionals can oversee a building throughout its useful lifecycle. The Valencia, Calif.-based company services Southern California with its esteemed staff of around 50 to take care of clients. Beyond simply geographic proximity, Lundgren’s results-oriented, collaborative approach keeps it ahead of the competition, especially in the public sector.

“I think we have one of the strongest teams I’ve ever seen for this project,” asserts Renee Goodwin, a project manager at Lundgren. The two schools will be built on a shared lot just off of Highway 178. Though the elementary and middle schools will keep separate buildings, the campuses will share a multipurpose building, as well as a bus loop separate from the staff parking area and the parent pick-up and drop-off area.

Welcome Relief

BCSD estimates the total cost of construction for both schools to be in the neighborhood of $60 million, which is money well spent considering the school district has seen a sharp growth in class size in recent years. Adding another elementary and middle school will help ease overcrowding in other schools within the district while also keeping the average class size in the target range of 35 students, as set by BCSD. The two schools will be the newest in the district since the addition of Walter Stiern Middle School in 1993 and Cesar Chavez Elementary School in 1994.

The new Dr. Douglass K. Fletcher Elementary School will serve a total of 785 students at capacity and the new Paul L. Cato Middle School will take care of an additional 1,356 at capacity, according to Goodwin. Each will also be built with room to expand, with 18 acres for the elementary school and a full 23 acres of land allocated for the middle school.

“The project took a bit longer than anticipated to clear with the Division of the State Architect, but we’re going to compress our construction schedule a bit to maintain our original end date for fall 2013,” expands Goodwin. “The pressure is on because there’s a high growth rate in the district’s schools and a mid-year move is just not an option as we see it.”

Lundgren hasn’t set forth any single plan to ensure the schools are delivered on time and instead has opted to make smaller adjustments to the overall plan, resulting in serious time and cost-savings. Though it won’t be self-performing any of the actual labor, the Lundgren team will have its hands full overseeing a total of 27 prime contractors, according to Goodwin.

Pioneering New Policies

“I’d say about half of the contractors on the project are coming from the Los Angeles area, which is pretty atypical in my experience here,” says Goodwin. The project is also unique in that it is part of the first generation of public education buildings constructed with the Compliance Monitoring Unit, a new component developed by California’s Division of Labor Standards Enforcement to enforce prevailing wage requirements on public works that went into effect in January 2012. Crews will also be tasked with maintaining proper programs to comply with San Joaquin Valley Air quality regulations on equipment emissions and dust emissions.

The project team still has a full year of construction ahead, but early signs indicate the project will stay on schedule, as no change orders had been received within the first six months of construction. “That’s not to say we won’t have any change orders, because that’s the reality of the business, but the bottom line is that we will be meeting our original schedule requirements and come in with a really low percentage of change,” assert Goodwin.

Only time will tell, but Lundgren’s enthusiasm and determination will set the tone for all 27 prime contractors involved. In the end, the team at Lundgren Management Corporation will see to it that the Bakersfield City School District receives two new schools capable of meeting both today and tomorrow’s academic needs.

Published on: March 12, 2013


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