Huge Kenosha school project tests all participants
The crews working on the 420,000-square-foot Indian Trail High School & Academy project were given a crash course in teamwork as they tried getting the building ready in August.
The $45.88 million project involved renovating 171,000 square feet and adding 250,000 square feet to the north and south ends of the school. The addition included a 1,200-seat auditorium, band practice rooms, cafeteria and gymnasium. Outside the school, they added parking, three football fields, four baseball fields, a soccer field and eight tennis courts.
On top of that, they had to keep the Kenosha academy open for classes throughout the 27-month construction process, including summer school. The goal was to create a comprehensive high school that would continue housing the academy-style school.
In the end, it took the efforts of the Kenosha Unified School District, the architect, general contractor, engineer and subcontractors all pulling together as a team, said Mark Simes of Camosy Inc. in Kenosha.
“It was like we all worked for the same company,” Simes said.
This particularly was important when the electric and fire service was installed from the north end of the school to service the south end. The heating, electric, plumbing and sprinkler subcontractors all had to work together and still leave room for duct work and heating.
“It was a pretty large coordination effort to make it all come together,” Simes said.
Several things helped keep the project on track and on budget, said Larry Bray, principal at Sheboygan-based Bray Associates-Architects Inc. The school district did more pre-referendum planning than most, allowing them to have more accurate information about costs when it went to taxpayers, Bray said.
They also brought the contractor into the design phase to create a guaranteed maximum price for the district, Bray said. They worked through many other logistical details to keep the school open and maintain a safe setting.
“Working with the contractor early on,” Bray said, “allowed us to work out the staging of supplies and how we were going to keep the site operational.”
Before the project, Kenosha’s two traditional high schools were about 20 percent beyond capacity with 2,400 students each. The academy, which served 1,000 students, was not a traditional school. Built in the 1990s, it had an open concept and did not have a cafeteria, auditorium, gymnasium, or other athletic facilities. Now, the building is able to meet the needs of traditional students and those using the academy.
— Tony Anderson