Every dollar counts for Junior Achievement project
The Junior Achievement Kohl’s Education Center is a lesson in economics in more ways than one.
Youth at the Milwaukee center learn how to handle and save money by visiting faux business fronts such as banks and stores. But the students aren’t the only ones practicing good economics. The developer, HSI Properties LLC, Waukesha, worked with other members of the project team to find ways to save money during construction. This was a necessity because the owner, Junior Achievement, is a nonprofit organization and every dollar counted.
One of the largest challenges during the project was budget, said Ryan Schultz, principal and co-owner of HSI Properties. “They are nonprofit, so every dollar is precious to their organization,” he said. Several strategies were implemented to accomplish this.
First, the building itself was designed and configured in a way so that the minimum amount of land could be purchased — a little more than five acres. The center was built up, not out, resulting in a three-level, split building with a portion recessed into a hill. This design meant there was less building “skin,” requiring fewer materials.
Inside the center, the team wanted the look of heavy, cut timbers to keep the environment warm and friendly, but they come with a cost. Instead of using actual cut wood pieces, structured steel beams were covered with a glue laminate product that was made to resemble cut timbers, saving money, but accomplishing the desired warm environment.
Another project challenge was the construction schedule, said Glenn Roby, associate principal of Kahler Slater Inc.
“The challenge was driven by the schedule of their (JA) programs,” Roby said. “They have to work within semesters like schools do.”
That meant that the building had to be completed within six months. More time would have an undesirable financial effect on JA and might have delayed classes.
The 42,450-square-foot center at 11111 W. Liberty Drive accommodates 300 students from the Milwaukee and Fox Valley regions.
Schultz said that store fronts were created to make two town squares inside the center. Community businesses sponsored the town squares, enabling customization of the storefronts.
“There’s a lot of work that JA does with kids and this is the place where they can put their knowledge into use,” Roby said. “They get to act like adults. They get jobs; they get paid; they get to cash their checks and buy goods and services.”
— Susan Suleski