To keep up with 21st century learning and evolving educational technology, New Trier Township High School District 203 undertook this large-scale, multi-phased renovation and expansion of their Winnetka West Campus. Pepper's involvement with the project began prior to the referendum as we helped the District determine how to best increase space and modernize their iconic facility within their target budget. The project included demolishing three of the school’s oldest buildings – a 1912 cafeteria, 1931 tech-arts building and 1950 music building – and replacing them with a four-story, 300,000-square-foot structure on the same site, but at more than twice the size of the original buildings. In addition to 25 classrooms, the new facility houses three science labs, a fine arts space, an applied arts program, STEM laboratories, a cafeteria and a lobby.
Our team developed several early packages that were necessary in order to get the construction process started – such as temporary classroom and MEP infrastructure applications to prepare for the new addition. Within five weeks the classrooms were set up and ready for students. Due to the fact that Pepper also works in markets other than K-12, we were able to leverage our relationships with quality local subcontractors and combine that with our ability to guide the procurement process of a public project. As a result, our team has remained on-track with our pre-referendum budget and schedule.
In the early planning stages during the community engagement process, Pepper and the design team developed options that would allow the district to avoid disrupting the educational needs of the students during the construction process. This was balanced with the cost constraints and design development time frame needed. We were able to finalize a plan that allowed 40 percent of the new addition to be used halfway through the project. This allowed for the necessary swing space to maintain all educational programs throughout the 26-month project.
From the pre-referendum stage to completion of the final Bid Period #9, Pepper and the team maintained a comprehensive budget alignment log. This tool and process was instrumental in the district having the necessary options and details to make informed decisions consistent with their promises to the community while also being responsible stewards of the tax payers’ dollars. This overall process allowed transparency for the administration, facility steering committee, Board of Education and the community.
Pepper attended various community meetings to help answer questions related to schedule, safety and logistics to ensure the voters were well informed during the prereferendum process leading up to the successful ballot. In addition, we were a partner in the process of navigating the necessary inter-governmental approval process to ensure that the construction program would meet or exceed the local municipality’s expectations.