When a district school needs to renovate its entire building, it requires a contractor capable of meeting its strict budget and time constraints. Take for example the Windham Middle School, which in 2015 began a three-year, three-step renovation project.
“It’s a huge undertaking,” says Bill Hansen, the director of facilities. “Over the course of the entire project, we’ll have basically turned the school on its side and put it back together.”
To maintain its tight budget, the project has been broken into three parts, each of which will seek competitive bids for local contractors. So far, we have successfully won both the 2015 and 2016 renovation projects, because as Bill says, “Ouellet provides value and delivers on schedule. A lot of people say they’ll deliver, but Ouellet actually does it.”
As with any project, we expect surprise complications or problems – it’s part of the business – but working on the Windham Middle School, there isn’t room for error. The time constraints are too tight. “The schedule has to be maintained,” says Bill. “School is gonna start, there isn’t an option for an extra day or week. It’s hard and fast, and Ouellet understands that. They work within that schedule and get it done.”
In 2015, the renovation focused on the west wing of the school, specifically the exterior and windows of the classrooms, along with various structural improvements such as spray insulation and waterproofing. In 2016, we worked on the east wing of the school, which centered around new offices, upgraded classroom doors and hardware, and ADA accessibility updates.
“I honestly believe they work so hard because they’re doing what’s right for the kids,” adds Bill. “They’re collaborative with us and find ways to make our suggestions work. You should have seen it, the teachers came back last year and were blown away by how the changes positively impacted the teaching space. It’s amazing to see that.”
Ouellet has always been excited to work with clients who truly appreciate value and understand the long-term impacts of their decisions. We find that Regional School Units, such as Windham Middle School, share with Ouellet Construction a genuine interest in making decisions for the betterment of the project, and it has been a pleasure to work alongside Bill and his team.