The term “summer slammer” is often used to refer to design and construction projects that take place at schools while students are away. It’s meant to capture the urgency that comes with trying to complete all work before the school re-opens its doors in the fall.
Over the last few months, we’ve been working with leaders at three area independent schools to design three very different projects at their facilities. The construction aspect of the projects kicked off soon after students were dismissed for the summer, but preparation and development of a project timeline began well before then.
In order for a summer slammer project to be completed on time and meet its other objectives, many issues must be addressed months in advance. This includes:
- Assembling the team
- Completing the design work
- Bidding or estimating
- Obtaining regulatory approvals
These renovations will create a better learning environment and a new feel for the school when children and their parents enter the building at the beginning of the coming school year.
Fortunately, all of our collaborations this summer have come together nicely, and these areas were addressed in time for work to begin as scheduled. We’re excited about these projects and eager to see the “finished product” for each.
Westover School: Signage and Wayfinding
The 145-acre campus at Westover School has continually evolved over its history of more than 100 years. Creating maps and signage for the site, buildings, and interior spaces have become a priority as the campus has grown. We’ve been working with the head of school and a small team to set goals, create graphics, and design signage for their campus. The first few exterior signs are being sited and mocked up this summer as we pursue regulatory approvals and expand the effort to include hard and soft landscaping.
St. Thomas’s Day School: First Floor Classroom and Lobby Upgrades
St. Thomas’s Day School is a co-educational independent K-6 school located in the heart of New Haven, CT. We are coordinating a holistic renovation of the school, with the first-floor portion being constructed this summer. We’re overseeing renovations of each of the first grade through sixth-grade classrooms, as well as the lobby and circulation spaces, with new finishes, lighting, and furniture.
Slate School: New Playground, Greenhouse and Garden, Classroom Fit-Out
This new nature-based elementary school, which was completed one year ago, is expanding its playground to include an interactive playscape, a greenhouse, and gardens. As the first class of students is moving up to the next grade level, we are also fitting out another classroom to greet new students this fall.
The Patriquin Approach to Summer Slammers
Our team loves a challenge, so we look forward to summer slammers and their accelerated timetables. How do we handle them effectively? It starts with developing the plan. Once we’ve collaborated with school leadership, the construction team, and other stakeholders to create this framework, everyone involved feels a sense of confidence as we forge ahead.
Teamwork is also essential. Moving from one step of the schedule to the next with no interruption or delay helps ensure that construction will be completed on time. While a few issues are sure to arise, the best project plans minimize them, ensuring that one activity flows seamlessly into the next.
Finally, effective collaboration is a must. Being able to quickly and efficiently reach a consensus in order to overcome the inevitable challenges keeps projects on track. This requires that everyone involved stays focused on the end goal and flexible in the way they approach their work. We’ve been very fortunate through the years to work with exceptional construction crews and amazing building owners.
What does next summer look like for you? If it will involve a summer slammer or any type of design project, we’re happy to talk with you about our services and how we can help you achieve your objectives. Contact us at your convenience.