S. M. Wilson Creates Wilson Women to Promote Females in Construction

The National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) reports that 9.9% of the construction workforce is female. As a result, women are provided with fewer opportunities than their male counterparts.

Although the number of women in construction is slowly increasing, females still face an abundance of barriers working in a male-dominated career and S. M. Wilson is taking heed. Knowing that only a small portion of the industry is female, S. M. Wilson created Wilson Women, a program to provide camaraderie and support to the women in their firm.

Established in fall 2019, Wilson Women’s mission is to “bring together the women of our company for relationship building, community service, mentorship, networking and learning opportunities.” The multi-faceted program meets quarterly and hosts a variety of events including external speakers, internal discussions and team-building activities. In addition, Wilson Women supports external endeavors including professional development opportunities and networking events.

“Being a woman in an industry predominantly and historically pursued by men does not have to be the incredible struggle it was decades ago. Fortunately, women have pioneered their way into most construction-related careers. I’m proud to serve as President of a company where females make up 30% of our employees and 18% of our leadership positions,” says S. M. Wilson President, Amy Berg.

Wilson Women at the WISER Conference featuring S. M. Wilson President Amy Berg as a Guest Speaker

Upon pursuing a career in construction, females are faced with a number of challenges including fewer role models, discrimination, pay gap and lack of work-life balance. Through Wilson Women, the company will ensure a workplace where women are engaged, valued and supported in their personal wellness, community involvement and professional advancement.

“The industry as a whole still has a long way to go, but thanks to programs like Wilson Women, we are doing our part to challenge stereotypical norms, provide more resources that empower women and set them up for a successful career in construction,” says Berg.

In addition to the company’s 37 female employees, the program is also supported by S. M. Wilson’s male associates. All employees are encouraged to participate and contribute to group discussions and events which include a range of topics from unconscious gender bias to leadership training.

Group discussion at Wilson Women meeting.

Since its launch, the program has come together on two separate occasions to discuss strengths and areas of improvement for the company from a woman’s perspective, as well as discussing the challenges that need to be addressed outside of the organization. Many have also attended external networking and training sessions including the St. Louis Business Journal’s Women Conference, St. Louis Women in Science, Entrepreneurship & Research (WISER) Conference and more with no signs of slowing down.

“S. M. Wilson realizes the importance of promoting and providing more opportunities to the females in our company. We hope that through programs like Wilson Women we can raise awareness, educate and support the women in construction to make the industry more accessible for all,” says Berg. 

S. M. Wilson Introduces SKILLED to Address Labor Shortage

In August 2019, the AGC reported: “eighty percent of construction firms are having a hard time filling hourly craft positions that represent the bulk of the construction workforce.”

As labor shortages continue, S. M. Wilson set out to create a program to address the need for more well-trained, qualified workers. For decades, we have proudly built education facilities and our work has had a tremendous impact on the community. Project teams have presented to classes, hosted project tours and organized activities to engage student interest in the construction industry. In addition to supporting individual student interest, we strive to support the serious needs of our industry to promote career paths in the trades and provide access to those careers.

This year, S. M. Wilson has formalized these efforts and rolled them into our existing career development initiatives to form SKILLED, with the mission to Inspire the Future of Construction. 

“A decline in qualified craft workers sparked S. M. Wilson to create a program that would impact our industry in a positive way. SKILLED brings construction into the classroom and beyond by providing the foundational knowledge and skills for a successful career in the A/E/C industry,” says S. M. Wilson President, Amy Berg.

The three-pronged program supports individuals from all experience levels, from pre-k students to workforce professionals, to Discover, Develop and Elevate their skills in the construction industry.

The Discover portion of the program is already underway at S. M. Wilson’s Hallsville Primary School addition and renovation project in Hallsville, MO. The project team introduced students from the high school’s Ag Construction class to real-world applications of a construction project through site tours and trailer talks. The latest installment of the program allowed students to suit up in PPE and view the current state of their Primary School which included crane operations and steel erection of the prefabricated building structure.

“Students enjoyed touring the jobsite and seeing a variety of different trade skills taking place. We are excited to continue this program with S. M. Wilson throughout the school year. Thanks to S. M. Wilson for this educational opportunity, it is really appreciated,” said Caleb Martin, Teacher and Advisor at Hallsville R-IV Schools.

Seeing the physical job completed in real-time with the guidance of the S. M. Wilson project team will give students the unparalleled introduction to what their future in construction might entail. Future plans with the District include construction career presentations and STEAM construction activities for middle and primary school students are underway.

Amy Berg explains, “We are excited to kick off SKILLED with the Hallsville R-IV School District and look forward to continuing our efforts to provide students with the framework and a strong foundation for a future career in construction.”

The Develop and Elevate portions of the program focus on high school, secondary students and beyond. As part the Develop phase, S. M. Wilson offers career-ready internships, career training and mentorship. Led by the company’s Collegiate Development Committee, students interested in working in the construction industry experience hands-on training opportunities, mentoring and networking to benefit their personal and professional development.

The Elevate phase supports the internal professional growth of employees through continued job training, team building, development programs, leadership and advancement opportunities. Knowing that our employees are our greatest asset, S. M. Wilson strives to provide a strong foundation and resourceful company culture by emphasizing growth and encouraging professional development. A few benefits offered include tuition reimbursement, a leadership program, career paths rotation program and Wilson Women.

To learn more about SKILLED, visit

Using Augmented Reality on Blessing Hospital Moorman Pavilion Expansion

Technology in the construction industry is transforming today’s jobsite operations. Thanks to advances such as virtual and augmented reality (AR), Owners now have access to real-time data and true-to-scale visuals of their projects. With these tools, decision-makers are also able to visualize each project phase, detect potential errors and make changes before construction begins, saving time and money.

Implementing the latest technology has been crucial for S. M. Wilson’s Moorman Pavilion Vertical Expansion project at Blessing Hospital. This project consists of a vertical addition of two floors on top of an occupied patient tower. Coordination of the mechanical, electrical, plumbing and fire protection systems have been critical to minimize the impact on the hospital as well as expedite the schedule in order to carry out their timeline. To achieve this, S. M. Wilson utilized 3D BIM Coordination with the subcontractors on site to coordinate all of the MEPFP systems with the building structure long before installations began.  

Engaging with both the design team and the Owner early on in preconstruction as well as constant communication between all parties also prevents costly changes later on and keeps the client up to date on the project. In addition, S. M. Wilson has been utilizing virtual design and construction (VDC) to expand the purview of Owner communication. By using augmented reality, virtual patient room mockups were presented using AR goggles at Moorman Pavilion. End-user’s are able to walk through construction space seeing highly detailed projections of the completed patient rooms. This form of communication results in a much deeper understanding of the project through visualization and allows for identification of potential changes much earlier in the process. 

Click here for a demonstration using augmented reality at Blessing Hospital or visit

$28 M COCA Expansion Project is a Challenge with a Rewarding Outcome

A national leader in innovative arts education, COCA serves more than 50,000 people annually of all ages, backgrounds and ability levels throughout the Greater St. Louis area. As demand for the organization’s services continues to increase, the existing facility no longer has adequate space or capacity to provide the level of programs desired.

To meet the evolving community needs and serve the growing student base, COCA announced the Create Our Future campaign, a multi-year fundraising effort to transform the University City campus. Launched in 2015, the campaign is the largest in the organization’s history raising $45 million to fund an expansion and renovation project as well as build capital reserves and endowment funds for scholarships, support services, artistic and educational programming.

“This expansion will allow COCA to serve more students from throughout the St. Louis community and ensure that we remain a part of what makes St. Louis a great place to work, live, and raise a family, for years to come,” COCA Board President, Jesse Hunter, said in their press release unveiling the project.

S. M. Wilson is currently serving as the Construction Manager at Risk for COCA’s facility expansion project. Set to open in early 2020, the multi-phased project will nearly double the size of the current facility. Phase 1 of the project was completed by S. M. Wilson in June 2018 and consisted of renovations to the Kuehner West Wing Facilities. Phase 2 is currently underway with the construction of the two-level Ferring East Wing addition, but not without its challenges.

Part of the addition includes a new 450-seat theater with a complex design. The core and shell of the structure is mainly concrete; foundations, columns, walls and decks with a mix of load-bearing masonry and structural steel, however, it is the extreme height of the masonry walls that make them unique. Standing 50 and 52 feet high, the structural loading sequence, wind bracing and assembly of the load-bearing masonry walls were crucial during design.

The one-of-a-kind theater is also difficult to build due to the 11 different floor elevations. S. M. Wilson had to be precise when planning the concrete pour sequence which required multiple forming and shoring systems.

Keeping COCA’s current facility operational on a tight site during construction while maintaining safe facility access for clients and neighbors is also a concern. S. M. Wilson’s safety team created site-specific evacuation plans, trucking routes for deliveries and performs daily safety walks all in an effort to prevent any incident. The team also works hand-in-hand with the COCA Staff, University City and Washington University on a daily basis to work through any coordination issues, avoid conflicts and achieve best management practices for the project site.

Because of the limited space and access of the project site, a tower crane was required in order to accommodate the long reaches for concrete pours and steel picks. Typically a tower crane would not be needed for a two-story building, but due to the location, the height of the masonry walls, overhead obstructions, multi-level concrete deck pours and complex steel installations, it was a requirement for a successful project.

“COCA is an inspiring organization and a staple in our community. We are proud to be a part of delivering this landmark project and look forward to how this new space will continue to innovate and inspire for generations to come,” stated Amy Berg, S. M. Wilson’s President.

Construction is expected to be complete in early 2020.


May is National Preservation Month, a campaign encouraging people to promote historic places that demonstrate the social and economic benefits of historic preservation using #ThisPlaceMatters. To celebrate, we’ve highlighted some of our historic renovation projects and the history behind them.


Woolworth Building Historic Renovation
The 58,904 SF renovation of the historic Woolworth building, located at the northwest corner of Olive and Grand, involved preserving several of the original features, such as restoring the terrazzo flooring and grand staircase on the ground floor. Two-thirds of the space was converted into the new Big Brothers Big Sisters headquarters.

Fontbonne University Anheuser-Busch Hall Renovation
The project included 40,289 SF in renovations and additions to the existing three-story Anheuser-Busch Hall. Renovations included new lab space, classrooms, offices and two kitchens. The building also houses a library, student lounge, a glass-encased stairway with handicapped accessible elevator and state-of-the-art greenhouse topping the second floor and south end of the building.


Columbia College Historic Missouri Hall
A historic structure on the Columbia College campus, Missouri Hall was originally built in 1921 as a home economics building and residence hall. The $4 million renovation project transformed the three-story building into a modern one-stop student service center while maintaining the building’s historical presence. The project also achieved LEED Silver Certification.


Vitagraph Building
The $14 million renovation project in Kansas City, Missouri included restoring the historic Vitagraph Building and expanding it to house offices for the Kansas City Symphony and other tenants. The four-story Vitagraph building was completed in 1930 and originally was used by Warner Brothers to store and distribute films.

#SMWill Recognizes National Volunteer Month

In honor of National Volunteer Month, S. M. Wilson’s philanthropic program, #SMWill, is honoring employees for their volunteer efforts and encouraging them to support organizations in their local communities.

#SMWill was first introduced in August 2018 by providing funds for “Investing in our communities through partnering with organizations focused on supporting the health and education of children”. After a favorable first-impression, the program officially went into effect in January 2019 offering a company donation match for individuals, a paid day off for volunteer service with a 501(c)(3) and donation funds.

Since its launch, #SMWill has donated $42,102 to various organizations including Aim High St. Louis, Care to Learn, Wyman Center, Central Institute for the Deaf, Boy Scouts of America, United Services for Children and more. S. M. Wilson employees have also donated their own time and resources by participating in the Cardinal Glennon Sun Run, Ready Readers, Little Bit Foundation, CHADS Coalition and Pedal the Cause to benefit Siteman Kids, to name a few.

With a formal structure in place, #SMWill also serves as a resource for employees to help identify volunteer opportunities. The program hosts an array of 501(c)(3) organizations to educate employees and promote team-building experiences. The company also advocates for its employees to set aside time for team volunteer days and encourages employees to leverage paid volunteer time off to support the community.

Beyond the Build, we believe in building the future of our communities, which includes the health and education of future generations. #SMWill recently sponsored Team Lily for the Homers for Health Game Ball Relay, an annual event to celebrate the Cardinals home opener benefitting SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Foundation. On opening day, Wilsonites joined Lily and her relay team to carry the official home opener ball through St. Louis Ballpark Village.

Following the Relay, S. M. Wilson Controller, Mike Mangiore, and Business Development Manager, Kristyn Newbern, attended Glennon 101 for an inside look at Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital. Attendees were given the role of “Intern for a Day”, learning about the many programs the hospital offers through small group tours and candid conversations with faculty, staff, families and patients sharing experiences at Cardinal Glennon.

To learn more about our community involvement and #SMWill’s impact on the areas we build, visit

#SMWill and Great Central Lumber Contribute to Jennings Construction Program

S. M. Wilson recently teamed up with Great Central Lumber who donated $2,500 of materials to Jennings Senior High School & College Prep Academy’s construction program with an additional $5,000 donation from #SMWill.

The Jennings Build, Design, Construction, and Advanced Manufacturing Program is part of the school’s Career Prep Academy which helps ensure students are college or career ready after high school graduation. Through a partnership with The Carpenters Regional Council of St. Louis and Kansas City, the classes provide students with hands-on learning opportunities and skills needed to be successful in the construction and manufacturing industries.

#SMWill spearheaded the donation after learning about the program and their shortage of supplies. When S. M. Wilson reached out to Great Central Lumber, they generously donated a portion of the materials in need, including cedar and ESLP boards, an assortment of screws, shelving materials and more.

Construction teacher, Casey Hayes said, “We really appreciate it a lot and understand the magnitude of this donation. These materials are a tool. We can provide the information, but a lot of learning goes to waste if the students aren’t able to be hands-on and use the skills we’re teaching them.”

In turn, #SMWill also contributed an additional $2,500 of materials as well as a $2,500 donation to the Friends of Jennings School District Foundation which awards scholarships to graduating seniors to the students’ college or university of choice.

Jennings School District Superintendent,  Dr. Art McCoy said, “Thank you for your tremendous support of Jennings School District. This donation will help our construction program continue strong throughout the year.”

S. M. Wilson’s charitable giving program, #SMWill, is dedicated to encouraging employees in their will to serve, commit and invest in our community through partnering with organizations focused on supporting the health and education of children.

S. M. Wilson Introduces #SMWill

S. M. Wilson makes every effort to enrich our Community and the communities we work in around the country. In an effort to streamline S. M. Wilson’s corporate giving funds and provide more opportunities for employees to support charitable organizations they are passionate about, S. M. Wilson has created SMWill (#SMWill).

#SMWill is a three-pronged program that encourages employees in their WILL to Serve, Commit and Invest in the communities we build, live and work in. The new corporate philanthropic structure provides employees with a paid day off for volunteer service, company donation match for individuals and a formalized foundation-like fund to “invest in our community through partnering with organizations focused on supporting the health and education of children”.

The program was spearheaded by S. M. Wilson’s Giving Committee after identifying a need to organize the Company’s charitable giving process and promote employee’s volunteer efforts. Since 1921, S. M. Wilson has continuously supported local nonprofits and community programs. The creation of #SMWill will serve as the new philanthropic arm of the Company, focusing efforts on funding the donations and sponsorships of 501(c)(3) organizations whose mission that align with our desire to support the health and education of children.

First Introduced in August 2018, #SMWill was fully launched in January 2019 and has already supported monetary donations and volunteer hours to organizations such as Ready Readers, Cardinal Glennon Sun Run and Aim High.

To learn more about the program, visit

S. M. Wilson Celebrates $1.5 Billion Built in the City of St. Louis

S. M. Wilson has been a staple in the St. Louis area since 1921. In 2001 the company moved its corporate headquarters from Granite City, IL to the City of St. Louis and 2018 has marked another monumental year for the construction manager.

“This year, we are proud to be celebrating $1.5 Billion worth of projects built in the City of St. Louis,” stated S. M. Wilson CEO, Scott Wilson. “Our office is located in the City of St. Louis. We believe in this City. We have for a long time and are proud to have helped build it.”

Construction projects have included the well-known IKEA store, Central Institute for the Deaf, Big Brothers Big Sisters headquarters on Grand, the Target store on Hampton, The Orion mixed-use development in the Central West End and Habitat for Humanity headquarters and ReStore. Construction has also included multiple healthcare projects such as Shriners Hospitals for Children-St. Louis, Washington University’s Medical Center Campus Renewal, BJC Institute of Health at Washington University School of Medicine and clinics for Family Care Health Centers.

Beyond the Build, S. M. Wilson is committed to promoting neighborhood growth and stabilization in the community. Acting as a true partner with the City, we are proud of our $1.5 Billion accomplishment and the impact our projects have had on St. Louis. To learn more about our history, visit


S. M. Wilson Supports Luke’s SkyWalkers in Cardinal Glennon’s Sun Run

Throughout the year, Wilsonites spend their time supporting causes and non-profit organizations they are passionate about. Beyond the Build, S. M. Wilson encourages employees to be involved in our community and the communities we work in around the country.

On September 30, S. M. Wilson sponsored 16 runners on the Luke’s SkyWalkers team at the Second Annual Cardinal Glennon Sun Run 5K and 1-mile fun run. The team was led by 1-year-old Luke Newbern, heart warrior and Cardinal Glennon graduate and his mom, Kristyn Newbern, S. M. Wilson’s Business Development Manager.

After hearing Luke’s story, Wilsonites and their families quickly came together by joining the team or donating over and above the S. M. Wilson contribution. Giving is contagious, and by race day the Luke’s SkyWalkers team raised over $8,800 with more than 100 runners with all proceeds benefiting the Children’s Fund at SSM Health Cardinal Glennon.

Kristyn says, “The Luke’s SkyWalkers team supports the Cardinal Glennon Sun Run so that all kids have access to lifesaving medical care. With S. M. Wilson’s generous support, we nearly doubled our fundraising goal.”

On the day of the race, Luke’s SkyWalkers team was the highest ranking fundraising team with $8,853 raised.

Clean Sweep 2018: Revitalizing St. Louis Neighborhoods

S. M. Wilson recently joined volunteers with Clean Sweep 2018 at the Penrose and Kingsway East neighborhoods to bring new life to areas in the city challenged with condemned homes and overgrown lots.

Launched by Better Family Life in 2017, Clean Sweep is a neighborhood clean-up initiative that brings together local residents, volunteers from throughout the region, City of St. Louis departments and area construction companies to help revitalize certain parts of the city and St. Louis County.

S. M. Wilson CEO, Scott Wilson, says, “Our office is located in the City of St. Louis. We believe in it. We have for a long time. It makes me feel great to be a part of this initiative.”

As a staple in the St. Louis metropolitan area since 1921, S. M. Wilson makes every effort to enrich our community and the communities we work in around the country. On July 28, a group of 20 Wilsonites and their families came out to support the program, helping to knock down vacant buildings and pick up trash and large debris.

Vice President for Community Life at Better Family Life, James Clark, says, “It brings the self-esteem. It makes people more excited about life. It brings hope back into neighborhoods.”

The program hopes to provide inner-city residents with an annual event that ignites and maintains momentum for neighborhood revitalization and engages a broad base of volunteers who promote real regional unity.

The clean-up events take place over four Saturdays throughout the summer. So far, the monthly events have demolished 23 structures and cleared over 50 trees helping to revitalize and strengthen neighborhoods. 

For more information on Clean Sweep 2018, visit

Construction Deal Finalized for Phase 1 of City Foundry STL

S. M. Wilson has finalized a construction deal for phase 1 of the much anticipated City Foundry STL project.

The agreement includes current and future contracts, which will consist of the construction and renovation of six buildings, improvements to the 10-acre site, as well as construction of over 60 tenant spaces. The agreement is expected to exceed $100 million when all packages are released. Phase 1 includes transforming 338,000 square feet of the historic foundry building into a food hall, curated retail and entertainment space, and creative offices infused with historic industrial architecture. S. M. Wilson and Lawrence Group, a St. Louis-based design, development and project-delivery firm, will begin work this summer.

“We are very excited to be a part of the City Foundry STL team and to see all the hard work that the design and construction professionals from Lawrence Group and S. M. Wilson have put in over the last 18 months come to fruition. Steve Smith’s vision will be transformational for the City of St. Louis and the region. We are very proud to be a part of this unique and game changing project.” – Amy Berg, S. M. Wilson President.

Click here for more information provided by Lawrence Group regarding this innovative project coming to St. Louis.

Habitat for Humanity New Headquarters and ReStore Nearing Completion

S. M. Wilson’s Habitat for Humanity Saint Louis (HFHSL) project is nearing completion as the construction crew and team of volunteers complete the final phases of the new headquarters and ReStore. The $2.1 million project kicked off in December 2017 when the need arose for a more functional, cost-effective space.

Since 2002, the organization’s headquarters and ReStore have been located off Forest Park Avenue. In April 2017, HFHSL sold the property, but remained onsite until purchasing a building in St. Louis’ Dutchtown neighborhood. Located at 3830 South Grand, the new space will house all of HFHSL’s resources and services under one roof, something that was not an option at their previous location. The 51,159 square-foot building was originally an empty grocery store which S. M. Wilson converted into administrative offices, construction warehouse and ReStore.

HFHSL CEO, Kimberly McKinney, describes the location as having “huge potential.” The new 10,300 square foot office space will include seven private offices, three conference rooms, a break room and 2,500 square feet of open office space. It will also house a 14,600 square foot warehouse/fabrication shop including truck access and loading dock.

The new headquarters will also be home to a 20,600 square foot ReStore with open floor retail space similar to their ReStore in Des Peres. The ReStore is open to the public featuring new and gently used home improvement products and building materials for purchase. In the past two decades, the Habitat for Humanity Saint Louis ReStore has diverted more than 33,000 tons of materials from landfills. The waste diverted could fill 1,953 semi-trucks.

The project has been a collaborative effort between the construction crew, architect, and generous team of volunteers. Kimberly says, “Thanks to the generosity and hard work, HFHSL will have a new place to call home on time and under budget!”

The ReStore will host a donation drive starting April 24th in hopes of filling the warehouse’s shelves before the grand opening on May 1.

Forging a Path: Being a Woman in Construction by Amy Berg, President

Being a woman in an industry predominantly and historically pursued by men does not have to be the incredible struggle it was decades ago. Fortunately, women have pioneered their way into most construction-related careers. These women, our mentors, entered into classrooms, worked in offices, engaged around conference tables, walked onto project sites and earned leadership positions as the only female in their environment. They broke stereotypes, they forged the path to make ours a bit more navigable.

Of course, our journey is not without challenge, but with challenge comes opportunity. With over 25 years of experience, I’ve learned a thing or two about what it takes to be successful in our industry.

Stay balanced beyond your typical 8-5

Construction is an ever-evolving industry where no two days are the same. While every project and jobsite are different, all are driven by deadlines. Practice self-discipline and focus your time on the most important outputs, but also know when to press the off-button. Having a strong work ethic doesn’t mean working around the clock. Self-awareness is crucial, know when it’s time to step up or when it’s time to step away. Overall, maintaining a work-life balance will make you more successful at your job.

Confidence is key

Many females in construction feel apprehensive about supervising or giving direction to their teams. What’s the best way to overcome this? Be actively involved onsite and take part in the bricks and mortar no matter what your position. Prove that you know what you are talking about, but also ask questions and show you are willing to learn from those who may have more experience. Once you start building a relationship of familiarity and trust, working together becomes second nature.

It’s OK if you don’t know the answer

Don’t feel obligated to respond right away. Think through your responses and ask questions. Listen and you will find that people love to share their knowledge. In doing so, you will gain more respect from your colleagues because although they may not get an instant answer, they know they are getting the right one.

Acknowledge opportunities

The world of construction goes beyond a hammer and a hard hat. From specific trades to engineering, accounting and marketing, this industry offers an array of opportunities in all aspects of business. Take ownership of your career, don’t be afraid to take on new challenges and always be willing to learn.

Amy Berg serves as President of S. M. Wilson. She has more than 25 years in the construction industry. Prior to becoming President of S. M. Wilson, Amy acted as Vice President of Business Development. Amy helped grow S. M. Wilson from $64 million in revenue in 1996, when she joined the firm, to the firm’s current revenue of $250 million. She was instrumental in the development of new business, establishing public relations and marketing strategies, and client retention.

S. M. Wilson Builds a Playhouse to Support Mercy Health Foundation!

Each year, the Mercy Health Foundation hosts a benefit for Mercy Kids which is a vital resource for children and their families offering compassionate medical care for every child, every need, every day.

Bates Architects asked to partner with S. M. Wilson to design and build an epic playhouse to be featured and auctioned off along with other playhouses built by local AEC partners at this year’s Mercy Kids benefit. Eager to participate and support the Mercy Health Foundation, S. M. Wilson jumped at the opportunity…and the results are memorable!

The modern barn-style playhouse features a sliding barn door, a removable roof structure with a cargo net loft, an exterior planter box that will catch rainwater runoff from the roof, interior surfaces of chalkboard paint and magnetic panels, and bonus areas such as a deck and activity table for added fun!

Watch an animation of the playhouse here…provided by Bates Architects.


5 Keys to Maintaining Operational Integrity during Health Care Construction by Bill Wagner, VP Healthcare

Providing a conducive healing environment and high-quality patient care are top-of-mind for healthcare providers and their contractors when undertaking construction projects in occupied spaces. Minimizing disruptions to day-to-day operations is essential for patients, visitors and medical staff impacted by the noise and general inconvenience of construction. There are five key factors to maintaining operational integrity during most construction projects.  Use these factors to help diagnose the potential problems and plan for solutions prior to beginning work on your next project.

How will patient movement (inpatient and outpatient) be affected?

Healthcare renovations or additions often interfere with egress and flow to the facility.  Parking and registration are often affected, and access from outside entrances to waiting rooms, admitting, elevators, imaging, laboratories, patient rooms, ED and other areas of the building during construction can be adversely impacted.

SOLUTION: Careful planning and phasing must be made to facilitate easy patient transport throughout the facility to maintain the quality of care. Using building information modeling, 3D “snapshots” can be created of each phase of the project digitally depicting egress and movement. This allows staff to view the potential impacts of construction and provide input prior to disruption.

Is infection control an issue?

Infection control is vital in a healthcare environment. Construction often produces a lot of dust and debris.

SOLUTION: Proper airflow management reduces the risk of exposure. This can be achieved by careful placement of proper negative airflow devices, partitions to separate construction areas from the rest of the hospital, and the use of surgical booties worn over construction workers’ boots when entering hospital spaces.

To make certain proper infection control is maintained, dust and debris must be minimized. Dust partitions, HEPA filters, and sealed containers for debris removal are usually necessary to control the unwanted migration of these contaminants. Only qualified and experienced builders understand all of the steps needed to maintain infection control throughout all phases of a project.

Infection control also involves vaccinations for construction staff, an often overlooked item on the pre-construction planning checklist. Properly immunizing workers before construction can prevent many of the most com­mon diseases from spreading. This not only protects the patient and staff, it also prevents construction workers from contracting illnesses, resulting in more on-the-job time, which leads to faster project completion.

Will construction noise interfere with the patient experience?

Construction noise can intrude on patient care and affect HCAHPS scores. Special procedures and equipment need to be put in place prior to construction to minimize audio intrusion.

SOLUTION: By coordinating construction activities and installing proper noise abatement procedures, audio intrusion into patient areas can be reduced or eliminated. Noise mitigation can include erecting sound absorbing partitions, using special tools that emit less sound and scheduling nosier activities around the hospital’s schedule.

Will med-gas, nurse call, fiber, electric, HVAC, water and fire protection tie-in affect our existing systems?

If new systems need to tie into the existing systems, they should be carefully planned and coordinated with facility personnel.

SOLUTION Proper planning ahead of time can prepare the technology staff for seamless transition and uninterrupted service of critical data and telephonic connectivity. To be effective, a construction team needs to coordinate with the facility staff and the information technology department. All shut downs should be scheduled months in advance with documented and written procedures.

What temporary evacuation procedures need to be put in place prior to construction?

Safety is a major consideration in a construction project—not just for the construction workers but also for patients, visitors and medical staff. During construction, many of the hospital’s normal emergency evacuation routes may be disrupted or moved, so alternative routes need to be in place for possible emergencies.

SOLUTION: Mapping out a series of new evacuation plans for each phase of the project and educating the facility staff of these plans can assure patient and staff safety in the case of an emergency.

If any of the above is a consideration for your project, you should consult a healthcare construction expert to help you plan for a safe, productive and efficient jobsite.

Bill Wagner is Vice President – Healthcare for S. M. Wilson & Co.   Bill has been involved in $1.5 billion of healthcare construction during his 37 years in the construction industry and has worked on a variety of healthcare and senior care projects.


Bill Wagner
Bill Wagner, Vice President-Healthcare

Some of the most challenging aspects of constructing healthcare facilities are hidden from public view.

Housed above ceilings, behind walls and within central utility plants is a complex array of utilities and other infrastructure systems that are vital to the efficient operation of a facility. Patients, physicians and medical staff rely on these core systems every day, yet they probably don’t give them a second thought—if they’re even aware of them at all.

But our construction teams think about them constantly. That’s because a hospital’s infrastructure is fundamental to the delivery of care and the continuous operation of a facility. This infrastructure ranges from extensive ductwork and piping systems to a robust electrical system that provides redundancy to support emergency power requirements. It operates everything from nurse call systems, to low-voltage fire alarms that interlock with the security system, to sprinkler systems. And today’s patient rooms, ORs and imaging rooms rely on considerable power, gases and data to support advanced equipment and technology, including robotics and other innovations.

Building information modeling (BIM) plays a key role in constructing healthcare infrastructure. As construction manager, we have the opportunity to work alongside specialty contractors to ensure that all the details within the model are well coordinated before construction even begins. We also make sure that all equipment is accessible so the facilities staff can conduct ongoing maintenance after the space is occupied.

For hospital expansion projects, we have the additional challenge of maintaining the existing facility’s continuous operation with minimal disruption. Pre-planning is essential to ensure the schedule is precisely coordinated to sustain the continuum of care for patients and maintain optimal safety throughout the project. Pre-planning can include flow, maintaining all essential life/safety systems, shut-down and system tie-ins.

Sometimes, prefabrication of components is an efficient solution, particularly within constrained spaces and sites. When parts are fabricated in a controlled machine-shop environment, they can be installed more quickly, safely and cost effectively than traditional construction.

Our S. M. Wilson team has extensive experience in constructing and relocating healthcare infrastructure. We’ve completed $1.5 billion in healthcare projects on more than 30 campuses throughout the U.S.

A few recent assignments include:

The new 11-story BJC Institute of Health at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis involved extensive MEP relocations and connections to campus services on the state’s largest and most active medical campus. The project required precise scheduling of utility outages and cutovers, including electrical and emergency power, medical gases, steam, and heated and chilled water systems. The most complex cutover—the bulk oxygen main—required four months of planning.

In constructing a new seven-level patient tower at Boone Hospital Center in Columbia, Missouri, our team managed the relocation of a 20-inch water main, existing storm lines, telephone and cable utility lines, gas lines, and the main electrical service. We used creative earth shoring techniques to bury the existing above-ground utility lines
while ensuring these deep excavations were safe for hospital workers and visitors.

At Community Hospital South in Indianapolis, we constructed a five-story patient tower addition in 12 sequential phases. The installation of a new tap and key for water main service required the implementation of a bypass loop to maintain operations of the existing hospital’s water service. The project included the rerouting and replacement of all steam pipe, storm, sanitary and chiller lines as well as medical gas and vacuum lines.

These projects illustrate the meticulous planning and expertise required to construct critical infrastructure and utility systems to support today’s complex healthcare projects.

S. M. Wilson Sponsors S. E. E. Week (Summer Engineering Experience) at Cor Jesu Academy

S. M. Wilson was a proud sponsor and participant in the S. E. E. Week (Summer Engineering Experience) at Cor Jesu Academy.  On Monday, June 6, project team members lead students through an interactive and fun day. Students learned about the S. M. Wilson project currently being built on their campus through job estimating and scheduling challenges.


Construction & Technology – Building Before You Build with BIM

Imagine saving hundreds of thousands of dollars by virtually mapping out possible construction conflicts before field construction begins. Now, imagine virtually walking through a building before a shovel even pierces the earth. It can sound futuristic, but this virtual world is a daily reality in construction management at S. M. Wilson. Using Building Information Modeling (BIM) software construction teams are designing, planning and managing today’s increasingly complex construction projects.

Continue reading “Construction & Technology – Building Before You Build with BIM”

Fun at the Farm: An Afternoon at Maplewood Richmond Heights Early Childhood Center

The Maplewood Richmond Heights Early Childhood Center recently opened their Farm Friends and Seed to Table education program to a group of young children of S. M. Wilson employees for an afternoon of hands-on learning. The kids spent the afternoon meeting and feeding the center’s chickens and miniature donkeys and touring the site’s vegetable gardens, orchards and small prairie to learn where our food comes from and the role of plants and animals. The kids even made their own snack of salad and dressing with items they picked and prepared from the garden.

The afternoon ‘at the farm’ for S. M. Wilson kids was made possible through the company’s ongoing sponsorship of the Farm Friends program at the Early Childhood Center (ECC). The Farm Friends program creates an interactive student-learning center for animal health and care, symbiotic relationships with humans, nutrition and more. During the school year, animals are rotated into the lesson plan for a week at a time. Each week, for seven weeks total, students meet a new pair of adopted animals – ranging from donkeys, pigs and ducks – and learn something new about each species.

The Farm Friends program began in May 2011 as an extension of the District’s renowned Seed to Table program, which utilizes a garden located at the ECC to teach students in preschool through first grade about parts of plants, life cycles, symbiotic relationships and, most importantly, nutrition.

Throughout the year, teachers use the program and facility as an integral tool to help students understand where food comes from and how plants and animals are used to make many things in our everyday lives. For example, the small prairie on the site enables students to roll and rake hay and then transport it to the barn to feed the animals. They learn the difference between hay and straw and how both are important to the needs of animals (hay is dried grass and is what the animals eat, straw is for animal bedding).

“The program was started to help children understand how animals help us,” says Almut Marino, coordinator of the “Seed to Table” program.  “For the students, the animals are more than just a lesson plan… they are part of the class.  The kids love the animals.”

“It is important that our kids understand that food does not just come from the grocery store, but that it comes from plants and animals that provide humans with vital nutritional content,” says Marino.  “This program bridges the learning gap for city kids in a fun way.”

What do you know about the Construction Management Agency (CMa) delivery method?

Public construction projects for municipalities and school districts have traditionally employed the design-bid-build method – An Owner selects an architect to design a project, solicits bids from general contractors and then contracts directly with the lowest bidder. While this approach is often thought to be the fairest use of taxpayer dollars, it does not always deliver the best value or end-product. It also puts an additional burden on the Owner to hire qualified internal staff to manage the insurance, bonding, change orders, contracts and other paperwork associated with the project. Continue reading “What do you know about the Construction Management Agency (CMa) delivery method?”

Happier, Healthier Learning Environments

Sustainable Energy Solutions in K-12 Schools

The new $39 million Wydown Middle School in the School District of Clayton just completed by S. M. Wilson & Co. is a showcase for new energy saving innovations and sustainability practices that are coming to the K-12 public school marketplace. Reducing energy consumption and conserving natural resources are high economic and educational priorities for today’s public schools. The ideas and innovations built into Wydown Middle School have created a dynamic learning environment for today’s science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) curriculum. Continue reading “Happier, Healthier Learning Environments”

Getting the Most for Your Construction Dollar

A comparison between general contracting and construction management delivery methods

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? Continue reading “Getting the Most for Your Construction Dollar”

Building Teachable Moments

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 Continue reading “Building Teachable Moments”