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Local Contractor Completes St. Louis Public School Renovation in Record Time

(St. Louis) - Southwest High School started its 2004-2005 academic year on time thanks to Interface Construction Corporation. The general contracting firm was given three weeks to renovate the inside of the 225,000 square foot building after St. Louis public school officials decided to move two magnet schools, along with its English As A Second Language program, into the 78-year-old learning facility. "The fact that Interface Construction finished this job in three weeks under the worst possible conditions is amazing because we were changing the scope of work daily to incorporate the needs of three schools into one," said Brian Hutchinson, Construction Manger for Sodexho, which is general manager of facilities for the St. Louis public school system.

Southwest High School is now home to Central Visual and Performing Arts High School, Bunche International Studies Middle School, and the screening center for the English As A Second Language program. The $3 million project included tearing out walls, old lockers and numerous permanent fixtures, then rearranging the offices and classrooms with 600 sheets of new drywall, 7,000 square yards of carpeting, more than 200 light fixtures and fresh paint. Construction crews also installed 250 tons of air conditioning and heating and more than a mile of new wiring.

Even though the school had been used up until last year, it had not been used to its full capacity in years, thus several deficiencies were found in the electrical and mechanical systems. "This is the fastest schedule we ever had in our 26-year history," said Sam Hutchinson (no relation to Brian Hutchinson), Founder and President of Interface Construction. "But I am a product of the St. Louis public school system and this was my opportunity to help improve our schools. Our students cannot afford to miss one day of school so it was imperative that we finish on time."

Because Interface finished the project on time, more than 1,000 students were able to start school September 7. "I am more than impressed with Interface Construction," said Dr. Stanley Engram, principal of Central Visual and Performing Arts High School. "They have been cordial and professional from day one. They have done a terrific job especially considering the magnitude of this project."

One of the main reasons why the project was a success was because Sodexho sought a design-build contractor. By using the design-build concept, a construction schedule is condensed and costs are reduced because the entire responsibility for the project is on the contractor. Sodexho officials said they looked for a contractor with the capacity and expertise to handle a design-build project such as Southwest High School and Interface, which is one of the largest minority-owned construction firms in the St. Louis area, fit the bill.

Besides Interface, several sub-contractors who also worked for Sodexho, the construction manager on the project, included Sachs Electrical Company, Weigmann and Associates, TREMCO, CCR Painting Company, Joseph Ward Painting Company and Henges.

For more information, contact
Laurna Godwin at
314/621-5566 (office)
314/210-8115 (cell)
Interface Construction