November 14, 2017

Overcoming Adversity Through Collaboration


On August 23, 2011, a 5.8-magnitude earthquake struck the Piedmont region of the state of Virginia. At the epicenter of the massive quake, Louisa County would be forever changed.

As a result, Louisa County High School [LCHS] suffered structural damage and was rendered unusable. David Szalankiewicz, Director of Facilities for Louisa County Public Schools, was charged with continuing the education of 1,500 students and replacing the condemned facility with the help of FEMA. With a demanding schedule, the School Board, Grimm + Parker (G+P) Architects, and Barton Malow Company built a brand new high school packed with tools to advance the education of generations to come.

Building Innovative Solutions

Though this proved to be a challenging project, the team put a number of innovative practices into effect to keep the project on track from preconstruction through completion. Motivated to get the students back to normalcy, temporary classrooms were installed in the parking lot after only 19 lost school days. Barton Malow was selected through a qualified bidding process to construct the school under a lump sum contract; however, this project required a higher level of collaboration than a typical hard bid job. By incorporating construction management services throughout the project, the Barton Malow team was able to collaborate with Louisa County Public Schools and Grimm + Parker to mitigate risk, overcome challenges, and deliver a high-quality end product for a deserving client and end user group.

“The level of collaboration between Barton Malow, the owner and the design team was unprecedented in my career. It was the primary reason we were able to deliver this on time and on budget. We had to come up with innovative ways to problem solve and adapt, and they did it very well. Better than any other contractor that I’ve had a chance to work with. ”

Aaron Compton, Project Manager, Grimm + Parker Architects

Designing a Student-Centered Experience

The new, three-story school includes dynamic, student-centered educational spaces that combine traditional classroom features with breakout spaces for collaborative project-based learning and technology-enabled learning. The large cafeteria features an indoor dining area equipped with applicable audio/visual equipment as well as outdoor dining spaces for students. Career and Technical Education spaces (nursing, culinary arts, automotive, etc.) provide “real-world” environments for hands-on learning. The state-of-the-art facility also includes performing arts and athletic wings.

Success Built on Partnership

This team set a new performance standard for the Owner-Architect-Contractor partnership. The collaborative effort on behalf of all team members was the overall key to success on this project and restoring normalcy to the shaken community.

“Barton Malow had to navigate getting product and vendors in through the temporary student trailers. They did it safely and they did it by communicating with us frequently. When we found issues with the soil, Barton Malow was still able to deliver the project on time and on budget. ”

David "Sal" Szalankewicz, Director of Facilities, Louisa County Public Schools

Read the full issue of BUILD 17.1 | 21st Century Learning Environments which features our recent K-12 projects.