BUILDING INNOVATIVE SOLUTIONS

Energizing education in Genesee County

Changing a life is no small task. But as builders we oftentimes find ourselves in the position to make an impact on the lives of others. Beginning in 2015, we did just that for Genesee Career Institute (GCI)

At Genesee Intermediate School District (GISD), the belief that educational leadership gives students the opportunity to succeed permeates throughout each of their facilities. This is especially the case at Flint, MI’s GCI, where a tuition-free education gives high school students exposure to new skill sets and technologies for entry into the workforce, certifications and/or college credits.

Redefining what innovation looks like

For schools like GCI, the future of vocational skills lies in creating career incubator schools that best reflect what lies on the horizon of innovation. That’s where Barton Malow entered the scene. Along with designers Stantec, the goal was to transform a simple, single-story building into place where students could find inspiration and get an innovative technical education.

With Phase I of the project featuring over 77,000 square feet of renovations, the impact we made was astounding. Students now have access to enormous workspaces that stressed the importance of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) via 3D printers, fume hoods and more.

Not unlike our own Innovation Hub, GCI was in need of an area that organically produced teamwork and deep thought. Phase II had the solution, the Innovation Zone, an 8,700-square-foot addition. With connectivity—both technologically and on the human level—in mind, this new addition featured new ways to interact while also connecting the south and north wings. Following that was Phase III, which encompassed minor work on renovating a small area in the north wing.

But one couldn’t possibly talk about innovation without also talking about efficiencies. The renovations provided GCI with the opportunity to consolidate elements of programs that were once scattered about, in addition to a revitalized administration area. For GCI, having elements of the same discipline close to each other meant ensuring students were just a step away from their next learning adventure.

Round-the-clock learning process

Taking part in a project like this was equal parts learning and teaching. During the planning of the GCI renovation, we wanted to ensure students weren’t negatively impacted by such a massive development. By breaking up the project into four succinct phases, we and designers Stantec were able to rotate where we work to keep the school open and eliminate distractions.

Led by Project Director Steven Rewers, Barton Malow did more than just turn the proposed renovations into reality. We were guest teachers, answering questions, leading discussions and even getting some GCI students involved in the concrete work. This culminated in the Phase IV work within the automotive and welding lab, which was some of the most arduous of the whole project. Luckily, through thorough planning, we avoided mishaps, identified possible issues in advance, and delivered exactly what the client needed.

What’s next?

We’re gearing up for more work in Genesee County. From updates to the culinary arts program to expanding the automotive program’s facilities, we’re excited to give students more space to learn, create and share.

Paul Twigg

“Few people in technology get to work on schools, university buildings, libraries, manufacturing plants, military bases, and college stadiums! Variety at Barton Malow keeps work interesting and provides a broader perspective for innovative solutions.”