The essence of Fort Smith Public Schools’ Vision 2023 school bond (“Millage”) program was a strategic three-year plan to renovate existing facilities and add new structures, with work occurring at 26 school campuses across the community. The District faced numerous challenges, including a lack of internal project management capacity and no experience with large scale projects or new school construction in the past 30 years.
District leaders quickly recognized HPM as the only logical choice to be their stewards who could skillfully and safely navigate the journey for every Millage project, from preconstruction through construction and close-out. HPM immediately set about the task of assessing front-end documents and walking existing facilities to gauge efficacy of the Millage budget against the District’s Program of Requirements. HPM’s team immersed and worked with reputable area business leaders and law firms to gain familiarity with local business customs and practices. With acute situational awareness, HPM developed and implemented a strategic plan to identify qualified design teams so District officials could make informed decisions for Architect of Record at each campus project. HPM then initiated and led a campaign designed to foster contractor market interest and solicit competitive proposals from the most qualified builders in the area. To optimize value in each of the District’s projects, HPM led with best industry practices at every turn. Measurements of HPM’s success on behalf of Fort Smith Public Schools include a significant financial savings on Program Budget, which enables the District to continue enhancing their facilities beyond original expectations.
A Public Investment in Student Learning and the Community
In response to the Vision 2023 Millage school bond program, Fort Smith Public Schools placed their trust in HPM to manage the planning and execution of work at more than 25 school campuses over a three year duration. With a heavy amount of renovation work to be done, it was important that Fort Smith Public Schools chose the right team to manage the taxpayer’s money through the bond program. Fortunately for the school system, HPM is in the business of leading and risk management, with an extensive K-12 portfolio. Keeping in line with the project timeline, budget, and schedule is of utmost importance to the HPM team. In fact, the first wave of five elementary school security projects were completed in time for the start of the Fall 2019 semester. Several other projects are running ahead of schedule. Fort Smith’s investment in these renovations and additions represent a significant improvement- benefiting current students and many generations to come. School Superintendent Doug Brubaker stated, “We really want the public to know that the investment that they made in their kids and in their community is beginning to pay dividends and will continue to in years to come.”