Greenville County Public Schools Capital Construction Program

Faithful+Gould was an integral part of a four-firm consortium, called Institutional Resources, which delivered total program management services to the fast-growing School District of Greenville County, South Carolina. The program covered 70 individual construction projects totaling over 7.8 million square feet. Our team established a unique $1 billion bond financing program.

In addition, we provided:

  • Building condition assessments and programming,
  • Cost modeling,
  • Value management,
  • Community input and involvement; and 
  • The development of a long range facilities plan.

We also handled site acquisition; architect selection; bid package preparation and taking of bids; preparation of construction contracts; move coordination; quality assurance; safety management and management of the overall construction efforts. In addition we managed the minority and small business participation program. The project began in March 2002 with a complete evaluation of the entire county's facility inventory and the development of a concise plan to identify needs and meet the Greenville County School Board's goals and objectives. Completed in December 2007, the Greenville County school system now has capacity for more than 70,000 students, representing an increase of approximately 25% from previous available space.

The $1 billion program included:

  • 20 new schools
  • 10 expansions
  • 30 renovations and expansions, and
  • 10 renovations

Several schools received designation as magnet or specialty schools and one was designated as a fine arts complex complete with art studios, black box theaters and high end acoustical systems. We also oversaw the construction of a state-of-the-art wastewater treatment plant and numerous infrastructure projects. In the proposal stage of the program, we performed comparative cost analysis of another firm's cost estimate for construction renovations. We developed the initial cost models from a cost per square foot average for each building assembly component. These cost models established the budget estimate. Each building assembly component received a life cycle ranking, and thus the cost of total replacement with new construction established the working estimate base. We established a number of innovative approaches to save Greenville County money both during construction, and operationally, in the future. We used one type of mechanical system in all new elementary schools. By selecting a slightly more expensive four-pipe water system, the School District will save hundreds of thousands of dollars in future operating costs.

Additional benefits accrue as well:

  • The energy management software is the same system-wide and thus spare parts are all the same and interchangeable from school to school.
  • The engineering staff can be assigned to any school with a working knowledge of the system, reducing operating errors, job turnover and re-training.
  • The program manager is able to package jobs together for bidding.

Another creative program was our approach to procurement. Because of the size of the program, the program management team set up a program to purchase building materials in bulk. By bulk buying, we were able to afford higher priced, recycled, environmentally-friendly carpet, floor tiles and acoustical ceiling tiles. The team also instituted a prototypical design program for the school types: elementary, middle and high school. These designs take a ‘cookie cutter' approach, using a ‘kit' of common elements which were rearranged to fit each site, topography or school size. Again, by using common building components, materials and approaches, substantial savings were made.

Each of the 70 projects incorporated some level of sustainable ideals, processes and features - as far as possible within the budget. Energy conservation was a key factor for the School District in the development of the program, particularly in the later years. There is an emphasis on natural lighting, web-based HVAC controls and a variety of components to monitor air quality. BRPH Architects designed Riverside High School to achieve LEED Silver certification.The Greenville County Public Schools Capital Construction Program was successfully completed in December 2007. In 2008 it won the CMAA Project Achievement Award.

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