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Sectors

K-12

We can do everything from identifying the right contractors and consultants in the local market to accurate budget forecasting and project phasing to keep schools open and safe.

A school is a long-term investment for a community that has ripple effects far beyond classroom learning. CCS has helped school districts complete more than 300 K-12 school buildings, including classrooms, auditoriums, theatres, labs, sports, and recreational facilities, and infrastructure work.

We can do everything from identifying the right contractors and consultants in the local market to accurate budget forecasting and project phasing to assisting with public engagement, school board, and media interaction to promote the benefits to the community. Throughout all of this, our priority is to find ways to maximize value and make sure we deliver in time for opening day.

Highlights

  • Over 280 K-12 education projects worth in excess of $3 billion

  • Owners Rep for 18 suburban school districts

  • National experience on new, rehab and adaptive reuse, vertical and horizontal projects

Our process

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Design and budget validation

Beginning with pre-design, CCS ensures that drawings and plans for education projects are future-proofed to meet the needs of tomorrow’s students. Our collaborative method includes feasibility studies, design evaluation, review, construction management selection, and accurate total project budgeting.

We can assist internal teams with budget estimates and advise stakeholders on cost and constructability. We help determine the best method of project delivery, drawing on our deep familiarity with the costs, risks, timeline, and contractual aspects of the procurement process.

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Expertise and optimization

CCS can support school districts and project teams with technical expertise. We facilitate construction management and general contractor selection, identify the right contractors and consultants utilizing our deep knowledge of the local market, and bring our own team of knowledgeable experts to every facet of the design and construction process.

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Project phasing

Schools must open on time, so project phasing is crucial in building new or renovation projects. We provide upfront planning to minimize change orders. And CCS can create an operational plan to address shortages or delays in the availability of labor or materials.

We have experts in the latest methodologies including LEAN and Agile we can apply to optimize resources and maximize value throughout the process.

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Maximizing value

CCS shepherds education projects from beginning to end. We validate estimates against contractor costs. We then value engineers throughout the design and construction process to give school districts the most for their dollar.

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Information sharing

We’re expert communicators, too. CCS helps clients manage their sustainability requirements and ensure they’re getting value from their architect, engineer, and construction management team. We have experts with the formal certifications, including LEED and Energy Star, required to navigate government requirements.
Throughout, CCS rebalances information sharing during design and construction and manages monthly reporting. CCS can handle regular reporting from the field for board review while keeping donors in the loop.

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Public engagement

When it comes to school projects, stakeholders want to be informed since a school is an important part of the lifeblood of a community. CCS can perform the necessary due diligence for private/public joint ventures on education projects.

We can present school projects to the public and media and report on progress to the appropriate stakeholders along the way to make sure we are responsible stewards of resources and convey the long-term benefits of the project.

CCS is committed to staying current on all the developments and dialogues that are affecting the K-12 sector. This is critical so that we raise any issues that may affect a project’s design or cost in a timely manner so that both the Owner & Architect/Engineering teams are able to effectively respond.

K-12 sector background & challenges

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  • Over the last cycle, schools have evolved as dynamic, multimodal learning spaces with new safety protocols. Both elementary and high schools are reopening while adapting to pedagogy that emphasizes group learning and collaboration alongside individual study — an environment that calls for flexible desks in reconfigurable spaces. Digital learning means classroom must-haves now include large flatscreens, power access, and media centers to facilitate collaboration.

    Many schools have instituted health and safety protocols, including renovating their ventilation systems and adding higher air exchange systems. Some schools are adding touchless technology and dividers in bathrooms and reconfiguring staff spaces to allow for distancing. Wellness and sustainability are reshaping how schools are designed and updated. Not only can efficient LED lighting and HVAC systems save on operational costs, but features such as rainwater collection or solar panels also have educational value. One major contemporary design challenge is balancing the application of natural light in learning spaces and the heavy daily use of screens in schools.

    A growing emphasis on security for schools and daycare centers has design implications (limited points of entry, extra barriers) which welcome new technological solutions in the form of surveillance cameras and keyless locking doors.

    Demand for combined elementary and middle school campuses (K-8 centers) is surging because they allow elementary and middle school students to share amenities such as media centers, gymnasiums, and flexible spaces.

Over the last cycle, schools have evolved as dynamic, multimodal learning spaces with new safety protocols. Both elementary and high schools are reopening while adapting to pedagogy that emphasizes group learning and collaboration alongside individual study — an environment that calls for flexible desks in reconfigurable spaces. Digital learning means classroom must-haves now include large flatscreens, power access, and media centers to facilitate collaboration.

Many schools have instituted health and safety protocols, including renovating their ventilation systems and adding higher air exchange systems. Some schools are adding touchless technology and dividers in bathrooms and reconfiguring staff spaces to allow for distancing. Wellness and sustainability are reshaping how schools are designed and updated. Not only can efficient LED lighting and HVAC systems save on operational costs, but features such as rainwater collection or solar panels also have educational value. One major contemporary design challenge is balancing the application of natural light in learning spaces and the heavy daily use of screens in schools.

A growing emphasis on security for schools and daycare centers has design implications (limited points of entry, extra barriers) which welcome new technological solutions in the form of surveillance cameras and keyless locking doors.

Demand for combined elementary and middle school campuses (K-8 centers) is surging because they allow elementary and middle school students to share amenities such as media centers, gymnasiums, and flexible spaces.

Client Feedback

  • Throughout our school projects CCS’ staff and principals demonstrated a high degree of professionalism and commitment to each project. They became a positive force and protected the interest of both the governmental entities as well as the tax payers in every case.

    Ben Reyes Former Chief of Operations, Executive Director

    Chicago Public Building Commission