Case Studies

Waterford High School – O&G Industries Inc.

Setting a New Educational Standard

O&G Industries Inc. (O&G) has been changing the landscape of the Northeast since it was founded in 1923 with the promise to provide the highest quality work at a competitive price. O&G’s philosophy has shaped the company’s growth through three generations of family management, propelling it to become one of the largest and most diversified construction service providers and building material suppliers in the region. The company’s broad expertise and expansive geographical footprint enable O&G to provide local projects in many market sectors with unparalleled attention, swift communication and efficient mobilization of resources to ensure the client’s success above all.

“At the end of the day, it’s the client’s project and we believe we are there to help them succeed,” asserts Ken Biega, assistant vice president at O&G. The Torrington-based company operates a network of branches across Connecticut, as well as into New York with a total of six concrete plants, nine asphalt plants, eight masonry stone yards, four earth material supply locations, plus a dozen quarry, sand and gravel plants. The company’s ability to organize itself for the benefit of each client propels continued success in both public and private sectors, which explains why Engineering News-Record regularly ranks O&G as one of the top builders in the country.

O&G keeps prices competitive by incorporating as many of the team’s services into a package as is appropriate. What started as a road-building operation with just one truck and two steamrollers now operates a fleet with over 1,900 pieces of equipment and a staff of professionals to ensure the work is completed to the O&G standard. O&G’s network includes over 1,000 employees, including over 200 professionals. Combined, the team can provide its expertise as a construction manager, design-build contractor, program manager, general contractor, building material supplier or any combination. The team’s extensive flexibility ensures O&G is ready and waiting to facilitate a customer’s project in whatever capacity necessary.

O&G has amassed a loyal client following as a result, with the power and energy, industrial manufacturing, healthcare, education and commercial markets representing some of O&G’s target industries. The team at O&G didn’t stop there. O&G glimpsed the writing on the wall and joined the U.S. Green Building Council in 2005. Many O&G employees have since become LEED Accredited Professionals, which has helped the company land amongst the top green contractors in the nation.

Going Green Together

The company has since applied its success in sustainable building to help more than a handful of Connecticut clients go green. In fact, O&G was tapped to oversee a $68 million renovation and expansion of Waterford Public High School in Waterford, Conn., in 2010 due to the team’s prior success building LEED-certified facilities. The project is part of a $210 million effort the school district undertook in 2004 to modernize or rebuild every public school in the district. Additionally, the facility is one of only four schools expected to achieve LEED certification in Connecticut.

The project includes the renovation of 100,000 square feet of the existing building and the addition of 125,000 square feet. The new addition will be heated and cooled with a 150-well geothermal system.

“We’re renovating the existing auditorium in place along with the field house, swimming pool and auxiliary gym, while the older educational spaces will be demolished to make way for a new parking system,” expands Biega. The existing building was completed over 50 years ago and its media center and science labs were simply not designed to accommodate the wealth of technology common in today’s schools.

Connecticut-based JCJ Architecture supplied the new school’s design, including a wealth of electrical outlets and heavy-duty wiring to accommodate new technology. State-of-the-art instructional whiteboards will be installed in every new classroom, science labs will become more modern and a sophisticated wireless Internet system will be installed with increased access controls.

Overcoming the Unusual

The school’s design prioritizes sustainability and safety equally with the project team aiming for LEED Silver certification. The remaining portions of the building were also reworked to make every part of the building handicap accessible. The previous building had over 80 access points, but JCJ’s design whittled it down to three primary access points. All three access points are located near staff offices, which will all function as formal security checkpoints.

“We’re also working in an occupied high school, so we have been very vocal with the school board, the students and families of any changes in our plans,” adds Biega. The extra communication seems to have paid off as the project was on track for completion at the proposed date.

As students settle into the reinvigorated Waterford High School, O&G will celebrate one more brick in its legacy of sustainable building. Wherever growth lures the company, O&G Industries Inc. will prove its valor by mobilizing resources swiftly and always putting the client’s concerns above all else.

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