Leading the Change

Ayer-Shirley Regional High School

Ayer, MA

Changing Focus But Remaining On Schedule

The District originally planned to build a new Middle/High School to solve several school facility issues in one new building, including the repurposing of the 10-year-old middle school for use as an elementary school. After further evaluation, it was determined that the middle school could not be easily modified to serve as an elementary

School, and combining the middle and high school would result in overall project costs that were too high. A shift to a high school-only project was determined to be the more appropriate solution. As the OPM, D+W was asked to change the team’s focus while staying on schedule. The team of Architect and Design Consultants, Construction Manager (CM), and D+W revised the size and building requirements to provide new options. This occurred without significant time delays and allowed the district to remain on schedule.

Exploring All Options

While exploring renovated versus new building options, concepts became heavily debated. D+W Project Director Trip Elmore realized that, while each side of the argument had justification, the issues of cost, schedule, and phasing impacts were not illustrated in the discussions. He put together comparisons to better clarify factors that helped align the stakeholders and get them behind the best solution.

Together, the team evaluated options and ultimately elected and addition renovation project that retained the existing core athletic and theater components. By treating the site as a campus, open pathways and connections were formed from early education at the Page Hilltop School through grade 12. Leveraging the existing building’s assets was key to creating a true 21st Century educational plan concept. The result saved state and sending communities approximately $20 million while allowing for a transformative solution to retain students in the District.

Being Proactive

During construction, the CM was executing a complicated multi-phase turnover of spaces in the occupied school. D+W noticed areas that had not been fully vetted by the CM’s schedule of activities that would cause turnover delays. We provided detailed schedules and activity sequences to the CM that proved their oversight and corrective actions followed. Because of our construction expertise and knowledge, we were able to provide solutions to construction problems before they happened.