Duluth Public Schools Streamlines Renovation Project
I have been in facilities management for 21 years – over 350 million dollars in construction–and this was the best project that I have ever been a part of.
In June 2017 Duluth Public Schools sought to move The Hills Youth and Family Services (known as The Hills) to an improved space. Closed in 2011, Rockridge Elementary School, a former K-2 facility for the district, was identified as the ideal place to relocate -- but was in need of some renovations.
The district set a hard deadline for January 2018 and an all-in budget of $3 million – $300,000 of which was dedicated to soft costs.
Realizing it was going to be impossible to complete this project on time using the traditional bidding process, the district sought other construction procurement methods.
Faced with the pressing deadline and tight budget, the district opted to access Gordian’s ezIQC® solution, available through Sourcewell.
ezIQC establishes local, competitively-awarded contracts and is ideal for use on renovation and alteration work, responding quickly to emergencies, addressing a backlog of deferred repairs, and straightforward new construction.
Duluth Public Schools looked for smart alternatives to save money such as reusing existing water fountains and retrofitting rather than replacing light fixtures. The project scope included building nine offices, installing brand new ceilings and flooring and installing 60 new lockers. The savings from these alternatives added up.
Collaboration was essential in this project, and it was heralded a major success. All building renovations and classrooms were completed and the building reopened in January 2018 under the new name Rockridge Academy. Construction for the project came in on budget at $2.7 million.
The repurposed building quickly updated the school learning environment.
Rockridge is a much more welcoming building than The Hills' former location. Rooms feature floor-to-ceiling windows looking out over a wooded area teaming with wildlife. Hallways are wide, well-lit, and follow an easy line from the west-side gymnasium to the east-end art room. A view out the main entrance offers a peek at Lake Superior.
“It’s a lovely building,” says Principal Denise Clairmont. “We were all excited about moving in here. Even the students, on the first day, they walked in and said, ‘This is a real school.’”
David Spooner, manager of facilities for Duluth Public Schools was pleased with the process and outcome.
“I have been in facilities management for 21 years – over 350 million dollars in construction–and this was the best project that I have ever been a part of," he said.
Sourcewell (formerly National Joint Powers Alliance) is a self-supporting government organization, partnering with education, government, and nonprofits to boost student and community success. Created in 1978 as one of Minnesota’s nine service cooperatives, we offer training and shared services to our central-Minnesota members. Throughout North America, we offer a cooperative purchasing program with over 200 awarded vendors on contract. Sourcewell is driven by service and the ability to strategically reinvest in member communities.