Dating back to 2002, Gerstell Academy in Finksburg, Maryland, has called on Kinsley to deliver six major projects for their private school campus.
Our relationship first began with the construction of their 60,000-square-foot private school, and continued as we delivered a stadium, a track and
field, an athletic center and a dining hall. With this longstanding relationship, our team has come to fully understand the nuances of this client, and their preferences for communication and quality. Armed with this knowledge, we were prepared to easily navigate the challenges that came our way during their latest project, a new 16,000-square-foot Alumni House.
The Alumni House acts as a new conference center and student/alumni gathering space. It includes a gathering hall and patio, conference rooms, a trustees’ room and a break room. The aesthetics of the facility mirror the details of the existing campus, providing returning alumni with a feeling of “home coming” despite the newness. The architectural details, rich wood panels and finely appointed spaces inspire alumni and students to reflect on the high-quality and immense value of their college preparatory experience at Gerstell Academy.
A CHALLENGE-READY TEAM
Going into our sixth project on campus, we were prepared to meet Gerstell’s high-quality expectations and tackle the dynamics of the owner-architect contractor relationship. Communication was important, so we held weekly meetings with project team, often resulting in changes and challenges. Instead of allowing this to stall progress, we stepped into a leadership role to expedite work and provide the quality that Gerstell Academy desired.
Another challenge we faced was coordinating the installation of ductwork and mechanical systems in the building’s basement area. Getting the systems into the space was difficult, as construction access was available only via an exterior double-door. Our solution was to disassemble the air handling unit, move the unit into the building and then reassemble it. We also carefully coordinated the installation of ductwork and piping in the space with the help of our project engineer, Will Wenckus, who skillfully managed this work.
In addition, our project schedule was largely impacted by the weather in summer 2018, which saw more than 70 inches of rain. This significantly delayed the installation of exterior masonry, specifically brickwork, blue stone and gingerbreading. Our subcontractor’s work was repeatedly started and stopped because of two or three days of rain each week. Throughout the duration of exterior work, the project never saw a solid 10-day period of workable weather. Though we lost 40 workdays, the project team pushed through to meet the schedule while always prioritizing the quality of our work.
Completed in April 2019, the Gerstell Academy Alumni House is now open for meetings, conferences and events for the school, and recently received an ABC Baltimore Excellence in Construction Award. This recognition is a testament to the quality of construction and craftsmanship that our team delivered on this project.