- Jan 8, 2019
More than 80 percent of our projects within the K – 12 education market have been completed in occupied schools or on occupied school grounds. This poses unique challenges, not only as it pertains to the safety of the students, faculty and surrounding neighborhoods, but also in ensuring normal operations remain uninterrupted throughout the life of the project.
However, despite associated challenges, building within an occupied school also presents endless opportunities for student engagement and inclusion. On all K-12 projects, Gilbane partners with school leaders to develop educational partnership programs that identify common interests and tie construction plans to curriculum.
Students have front row seats to the transformation occurring around them while their schools are under construction. In efforts to enrich learning experiences, especially during the disruption a construction project elicits, Gilbane teams safely include students by offering site tours. These walk-throughs allow students the opportunity to better understand their new facilities, but more importantly, engage students by allowing them the chance to apply what they are learning in the classroom to basic construction principles. Gilbane team members then host or participate in classroom activities and career days, offering guidance as students explore opportunities within construction, as well as answer any questions the students may have regarding daily responsibilities of certain roles or career trajectories.
In many cases, aspects of a project can be directly tied to curriculum, as construction activities are integrated into the coursework of various disciplines, including mathematics, science, business and design.
Rock Wall Student Project
The Massachusetts-based team working on the Minuteman Regional Vocational Technical High School project in Lexington, MA partnered with the school’s Horticulture & Plant Science class to utilize a new rock wall as a learning opportunity. The students first built a mock up portion of the rock wall themselves using a small tractor to stack heavy stones. Then, they used a previously constructed wooden form as a guide to ensure height and width of the wall met the design specifications. The students then calculated the quantity of the stone needed to construct the wall in its entirety and compared the pricing of seven subcontractors to determine a recommendation on selecting the best contractor. The class then compiled their findings and made a presentation to the construction team. Their analysis uncovered price differentiations based on shipping cost, challenges in being able to select the proper size stones required, and how labor affects pricing.
Dearborn STEM Academy Project
The new Dearborn STEM Academy in Dudley Square, Boston includes a collaborative initiative with Boston Public Schools, and Boston After School and Beyond to increase out-of-school time STEM education for Boston middle school students. During this project, Gilbane and United Way worked to bring kids into the Dearborn school and give them an idea about the team collaboration that’s involved in putting together a building. To learn more about how Gilbane partnered with the Dearborn STEM Academy and the United Way, click here.