This 325,000-SF educational facility, part of a 72-acre campus, hosts a middle school wing and a high school wing. Together, the campus accommodates 1,200 students and holds 100 classrooms, college-level science laboratories, a fine arts center with a 600-seat theater featuring dressing rooms and a set shop, a library, three gymnasiums, a fitness center, a 12-court championship tennis complex, an eight-lane competition swimming pool, a media production broadcast center, and a kitchen/cafeteria. Additional features include a 2,000-seat football/soccer stadium, baseball and softball fields, parking for 849 cars, and walking trails through the surrounding woods and green spaces. It is twice the size of the school’s prior building. In late 2011, the $49-million project won the Construction Industry Best Practices Award, bestowed by the St. Louis Council of Construction Consumers. Our work was also recognized as St. Louis Metro Project of the Year (2011) by the Metro St. Louis Project Management Institute.
- A Flexible Partner from the Start - Long before design/build efforts began, Brinkmann offered Westminster a way to comprehend their full range of options. With a new site that had a 225,000-SF existing structure on it, there were dozens of scenarios to study and consider. Brinkmann specializes in presenting ideas and associated economics for varied situations to clients, so they can make intelligent financial decisions on what direction to go. With Westminster, our Project Team was able to say, “Here are the numbers if you keep 60,000 square feet of the structure…. Here they are with 30,000 square feet retained…. Here’s what it would cost if you did a complete tear-down.” And so on — with campus components across the board.
- A “Go” or “No-Go” Decision-Making System - When Westminster approached Brinkmann, the educational institution was beginning a significant fundraising effort mission-critical to this large capital undertaking. In a recessionary economy, school leaders faced uncertainty about available funds. This delayed knowledge of what exactly they could afford to build. Brinkmann designed several options for the project’s key features — with a swimming pool or without; turf or natural grass for the field; options for theater finish and so forth— then gave Westminster a “Go” or “No-Go” date for each one. Up to each given date, Westminster leaders could then make an informed decision based on their priorities.
- Spokes Around a Hub - Westminster had a 225,000 SF pre-existing structure on the site. Ultimately, Brinkmann’s design maintained 80,000 square feet of this. Using this as a hub, our Innovators built additional structures around it like spokes. This approach afforded enormous flexibility for the client, who could, for example, make a decision on a swimming pool independently of a decision on the theater a few hundred yards away. This also allowed Brinkmann — and our Subcontractors — to sequence work on these eight distinct construction projects simultaneously, rather than working start-to-finish on one part of the school, then moving onto the next, then the next.
- Time Your Technology Decisions - What is a 21st-century school? Brinkmann explored answers to this question in-depth with Westminster from the very beginning. Between the time fundraising began in 2008 and the school’s construction in 2010 and 2011, the classroom technology options available to schools had changed. It was critical that Brinkmann adapt to and stay ahead of these changes. Our Innovators were able to focus the early part of our digital build-out just on infrastructure — cabling, outlets — allowing the school’s technological plans to evolve along with the available technology. Then, just six months before the school opened, Brinkmann worked with Westminster to commit to and integrate the most modern technological system available at the time.
- For Schools, A Few Months Can Mean a Whole Year - This project was originally penciled out at 22 months. While Brinkmann is an aggressive scheduler on most projects, we found it critical on this one to keep the school-year calendar always at the top of our minds. The innovative phasing and sequencing customized to this project allowed Brinkmann to shave the schedule down to 14 months, performing more than $200,000 of construction per day. The result? Classes started a full year ahead of schedule.
- Smart Green - Westminster considers its staff and students citizens of the planet, and this project — from start to finish — had an environmental focus. Our Project Team pursued LEED solutions that provided good economic sense and return on their investment. For example, Brinkmann used abundant LEED-compliant recycled materials, smartphone-controlled building management systems, pre-packaged RTU components and an efficient HVAC system. In fact, Westminster earned $250,000 back from the region’s electric utility after being able to document lower energy demands by the building.