Case Studies

Leesville High School: Providing Renovations for Education

  • Written by: Leesville High School: Providing Renovations for Education
  • Produced by: Leesville High School: Providing Renovations for Education
  • Estimated reading time: 4 mins

Pat Williams Construction Company (PWC), a general contractor based in Leesville, La., is undertaking a major renovation project at local Leesville High School. Will Jenkins, on-site superintendent for PWC, and Mike Sewell, project manager for PWC, are both proud of how Leesville High School is coming along. According to Sewell, Jenkins has been doing a great job coordinating all of the complicated field activities, and so far the project is both on schedule and on budget.

“It’s an addition and renovation to an existing campus,” elaborates Sewell. “We’ve done some demolition of different structures and we’ve taken down some classroom space to make way for new facilities. We broke ground in November 2011, and we’re scheduled for completion sometime in summer 2014.”

The Vernon Parish School Board, Leesville’s home district, awarded the $17.6 million contract to PWC in September 2011. The contractor beat out two other construction companies in the bidding process after four bids were rejected months earlier for going over budget. PWC is working with several local, qualified contractors, subjected to a similar open-bidding process.

“Low bidder means a lot in this case,” notes Sewell. “This is a big project with a broad scope. Fortunately, the trades that bid were all well qualified and are committed partners to complete this project with us.”

Experience and Organization

Founded by Pat Williams in 1978, PWC is now the area’s leading general contractor. Today Sewell works alongside Jason Williams, vice president of commercial contracts, Jared Cavys, estimator and project manager, and Kendall Bolton, general superintendent, to perform many large projects with similar scope.

The team has been operating out of headquarters in Vernon Parish since 1978, and the company opened a second office in Lake Charles, La., in 2011. PWC has been involved in many private and public commercial and institutional construction projects in that time. The PWC team is well known, having established a network of local subcontractors and strategic partners, as well as repeat customers over the years.

The company’s position in the market and longstanding presence in the region has given the team a competitive edge, which will allow PWC to utilize years of experience to navigate the unique challenges of this project. “The campus is in operation throughout the duration,” explains Sewall. “It’s somewhat challenging for everyone. We’ve fenced in our active construction so the general population can’t get in there. Of course, we’re scheduling the critical work that would be most unsafe during the summer holiday when students are out.”

The project has been broken into six phases, which is necessary to allow the school to operate at normal capacity without relocating students off site and to minimize the negative impact to school activities. “We’re probably 70-percent finished with phase three,” says Sewell. “This phase of the project we are constructing a new 67,000-square foot, two-story classroom building. Foundation work is also complete for the new cafeteria and dining area, which is part of phase five.”

Step by Step

Each phase is established in a site-specific pattern. The first phase included a new drainage system and parking area, as well as sidewalks. Once the first phase was complete, student parking was relocated. This allowed demolition of an existing student parking area, which will be the site of the new two-story classroom building.

Phase two consisted of more site work, site utilities and earthwork for the new two-story classroom and sidewalks, as well as a new entrance and retaining walls. In the midst of phase three, which consists of constructing the new two-story classroom building, PWC is performing structural steel and masonry, roofing and interior finishes in addition to more parking and drainage.

Future phases involve additional parking and utilities, as well as the demolition and rebuilding of two new classroom wings. In addition, PWC will perform a complete renovation of the existing administration area, gymnasium and a 1,100-seat auditorium, which will boast all new seating, interior finishes and current ADA compliance.

The school will regain full operation in fall 2014 with new classrooms and offices, as well as a completely new kitchen, common areas and library. The former library will be renovated for alternate use, while the gymnasium, auditorium and several remaining classrooms will be renovated, too. In the project’s entirety, the high school will gain three new buildings, several wings and a higher capacity for students.

The high school project is keeping the PWC team busy, especially as the company simultaneously completes several other regional projects. “I am currently managing contracts for a new dormitory for the Louisiana State Special Education Center, as well as an office warehouse project,” says Sewell. “Pat Williams Construction currently has 15 separate projects going on in this area right now, including these commercial and institutional projects, as well and some municipal work.” Despite a full schedule, the team maintains leading management, and Sewell reports his team is on schedule for the proposed completion date.

PWC has built solid relationships in the area with both clients and strategic partners alike. Customers are satisfied with performance, and subcontractors willingly work with the team again and again. Communication is key, especially on major operations such as the Leesville High School renovations. A large, but well-maintained business, PWC has built a broad portfolio including schools, churches, multifamily residential communities and even military contracts.

The Leesville High School renovations are poised to pay off for the district, offering more space and better facilities for education. Students will benefit from less-crowded classrooms, libraries and lunchrooms, as well as advanced technology in said areas and the new auditorium. When the Leesville High School project is competed in 2014, both the renovations and new buildings will mark a unique, complex addition to Pat Williams Construction Company’s diverse portfolio.

Published on: April 1, 2013

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