Building Teachable Moments

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Every construction project Owner must determine which delivery method – general contracting (GC) or construction management (CM) – will produce the best price and results for their project. In a perfect world, Owners would be able to manage their project using both methods simultaneously to reveal which would yield the best project in regards to cost, quality, and schedule. Since this is not feasible, how do Owners ensure they get the most for their construction dollar?

“The process of construction provides many opportunities for students to learn more about the steps involved in bringing a project to life.” Kathy Fitzgerald, Lower Division Director, Community School

When constructing an educational facility, focus is often on the learning opportunities and environment of the completed project. However, S. M. Wilson & Co. is striving to turn construction work sites into teachable moments. That is exactly what is happening at Community School, a private elementary school in Ladue, Missouri. Educators and administrators have collaborated with S.M. Wilson’s project team to convert the secure work areas of a $2.9 million performing arts building expansion project into a safe and ‘kid-friendly’ environment.

Since the project began in July, a series of special opportunities have been presented to engage the school’s young students to learn and interact with the site. “Children learned about the role of the Site Foreman during a second grade career unit. They have been able to monitor the progress through regular updates and taking frequent peeks through the child-level windows in the construction fence,” said Kathy Fitzgerald, Lower Division Director at the school. The project also sports paintable construction fencing which has allowed the school’s budding artists a large and creative canvas.

S.M. Wilson employees have also taken the opportunity to speak directly to the students about the construction process and careers in the field. Scott Wilson, S. M. Wilson & Co. CEO, led a tour of the project site for a team of second grade students. “Exposing these young students to a construction site just might spark an interest in some of them to take an interest in construction, engineering or even architecture as a career one day,” stated Wilson.

“Our role consists of more than building a high-quality, safe project. We educate and empower our clients and community to become a true partner in the construction process,” proclaimed Wilson. “The students take more pride and ownership in a project where they have been involved – when they walk through the doors of the new Centennial Arts Center, it will truly feel like theirs,” stated Fitzgerald.