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Event Recap: Education Panel with Tulsa Metro Area Schools OCT 2019

Panelist

  • Charlie Bushyhead - Associate Superintendent, Union Public Schools
  • Jeff Buyer - Executive Director of Construction and Community Services, Jenks Public Schools
  • Michelle Bergwall - Chief Operating Officer, Broken Arrow Public Schools 
  • Chris Hudgins - Executive Director of Bond and Energy Management, Tulsa Public Schools



Questions

  • What new trends in education are affecting the way you plan, design, and build facilities?
    • CH - Collaboration learning, interactive, multi-use, small groups instead of standard lecture style classrooms. Really taking advantage of everything in school building.
    • MB -With storms and school shootings focus on safety – looking at the design of entries and storm shelters
    • JB - Look at the learners and include students in the design planning. Different learning platforms.
    • CB – Student concerns, including them more. Safety and security, Flexible space opportunities for shared spaces.

 

  • When selecting design and construction partners, what are some of the most important attributes you consider?
    • CB – accountability – we understand there are problems but we need our partners to step up and take responsibility – all 3 parties – Oz principal – see it, own it, do it
    • MB – trust you and enjoy problem solving and designing with you – click with the team – accountability is important but “do you get us?”
      • Talk at a design meeting then meet again in a few weeks and you delivered what we wanted, we know you get us
      • Connection and trust - we spend a lot of time together
    • CH – team, problem solving, and learning from mistakes
    • CB – acceptance of kids – career connect programs – mentorship of kids and mean it

 

  • Many educational projects are delivered with the CM-At-Risk delivery method. What benefits and challenges do you realize with this method?
    • JB – benefit - preconstruction process because of the timelines. Hit timelines. Build relationships so when there are challenges, we deal with them in a strong team setting – challenges – cost, however we know that you get what you pay for.
    • MB – Can be more expensive, but benefit – can control project cost and timeline, competitive bid
    • CB – leverage so if it doesn’t go well there won’t be a future relationship so there is pressure to fix it and make it right. You can do that with CMAR
    • CH – quality improved and it’s worth it to add cost
    • We don’t have time to manage it our self
    • Only downside is cost

 

  • How can A/E/C companies better serve the education industry?
    • JB -as the education field changes and evolves stay up to speed and deeper understanding. Help us stay ahead of the trends. This adds value.
    • CB – because there is a labor shortage, set up programs where you bring kids in and teach what you do and mentor
    • MB – Be available to make a phone call for situations other than design/construction and be a resource
    • CH – be creative to bring more efficient designs (sustainability) to save resources for the school

 

  • What’s the best way to “market” to your institution? In other words, how should companies that are interested in working for you approach you?
    • CH – send an email and get on the RFP list
    • MB – don’t go to board members. Answer RFP and get to know team
    • JB – Invite us to a project you are proud of, especially ones with a similar scope. Brochures are nice but seeing a finished project is a good way to know you and your work. Use the school’s colors and not a competitor’s colors. Do your homework. Knowledge of team and projects etc.
    • CB – invite me to a project. Connect when we don’t know the answer. If you aren’t already a partner, bid our projects. Had they not been on the bid they wouldn’t have been contacted.

 

  • What kind of visualization technology do you want to see during the design process?
    • CB -Virtual walkthroughs. Sometimes biggest change orders came from not being able to visualize correctly.
    • MB - 3D modeling and virtual – stakeholders need help to visualize.

 

  • Can you give a list of examples of sustainable solutions that are working for you? How is sustainability influencing your design choices?
    • MB - Design for long-term. Tile and block. Easy to maintain. Maintenance costs. Would like to do solar and wind but too expensive.
    • JB – Think about a school’s resources and capacity. Low cost, low complexity for maintenance.
    • CB -Water 2nd highest utility, double what gas is. Stay current with trends to help us. We look to designers to know.
    • CH - Dual use spaces – storm shelter and education space and look nothing like storm shelter.

 

  • What projects is your district currently working on?
    • CH – two construction projects – Rogers Stadium and Library addition at Patrick Henry. Under Design-
    • MB – bidding new STEM facility. 4 years into a 12 year bond. Middle schools and auditoriums upcoming
    • JB – collaborative project – 2 elementary schools – dealing with the wetlands and water and green land between two schools. 2 schools cannot work together. Freshman academy, turf projects and new buildings.
    • CB – 3rd year of 5-year bond and new 5 year coming. Bleachers and demo of west bleachers and stadium, fine arts, wrestling, baseball turf, leveling off so upgrades needed

 

  • What projects does your district have planned long term?
    • CB - 5 year – replace elementary – make old buildings new
    • MB – finish 12 year then look at high school to possibly split. Keep up with growth so new elementary schools
    • CH – improve all schools and security

 

  • When an RFP is out what is a do or don’t do on a proposal and what do you want to hear from us in the interview?
    • MB - Don’t just bring VP – bring who will be on project and answer the questions so she can compare apples to apples.
    • JB - Interview – be honest and upfront and come as you are. We want to know how you are going to be day to day not just a presentation mode. Don’t make a disconnect and dress the way you are and be authentic.
    • CB – don’t give up. He wants to give others an opportunity, and sometimes you might lose but maintain the relationship so you can have one in the future.

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