Silverbrook Intermediate School
Location: West Bend
Project size: 179,542 square feet
Project cost: $25.6 million
Start date: May 1, 2013
Completion date: September 30, 2014
Submitting company: VJS Construction Services
General contractor: VJS Construction Services
Architect: Zimmerman Architectural Studios
Engineer: Harwood Engineering Consultants
Owner: West Bend Joint School District
Planning made for perfection at Silverbrook Intermediate School.
Class remained in session during the construction, meaning careful planning was necessary to ensure the children could still learn, said Chris Coggins of VJS Construction Services.
Coggins was project manager on the $25.6 million renovation and new construction project at West Bend’s Silverbrook Intermediate School. The project included remodeling 83,375 square feet of the old school building and constructing 96,167 square feet of new space, including a new cafeteria, library, gym, a full-service kitchen, administrative services area and classrooms.
“We doubled the size of the school and had weekly meetings with the school superintendent and principal to let them know what we would be working on and to hear what they had going on at the school to keep the communication lines open,” Coggins said.
To separate students and staff from construction areas, crews put up construction partitions and fencing throughout the project. Parking for staff members and parents dropping off their children was also affected.
West Bend Superintendent Ted Neitzke said VJS crews concentrated on making sure their work wasn’t affecting the students’ learning environment.
“They were wonderful to work with and understood students and teachers had work to do,” he said. “They also got the kids involved in the project such as masons and engineers going into different classrooms and talking about what they were doing.”
The project was done in 11 phases and lasted 15 months. During that time, different parts of the school were turned over to the district, so that some of the newly constructed spaces could be used once completed.
Reusing areas of the school once new spaces were created was a unique aspect of the project, Coggins said. For example, the old gym area became music classrooms for the school’s choir, band and orchestra programs. The old cafeteria was used for some of the new library space and additional classrooms.
“We were able to reuse the old gym floor in the new classrooms for the musical department by just refinishing it,” he said.
All of the school’s classrooms were also designed to be flexible and included small group and collaboration spaces. Coggins said the classrooms were designed to support the latest technology and wires were hidden from view.
Before construction began, an in-depth facilities study was completed to see what areas needed improvements. From there, a detailed design for the new school areas was put together.
“There was a lot of work done long before the first bidding schedule went out,” Coggins said. “Planning was crucial to making everything work.”