School Is In Session

by Paul Tarricone, Asst. Editor; Civil Engineering Magazine, ASCE World Headquarters, 345 East 47th Street, New York City, NY.,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1991, Vol. 61, Issue 1, Pg. 42-45

Document Type: Feature article


Cost overruns, project delays and the city bureaucracy have given school construction a bad reputation throughout the U.S., particularly in urban centers. But as other construction markets slump, school projects are enjoying a renaissance within the industry. The New York City School Construction Authority is conducting a five-year, $4.3 billion program—the biggest and first of its kind in the nation. SCA has two goals that other cities may follow: The first is to cut in half the time it takes to design and build a school, from eight years to four; the second is to change the way construction is managed in the public sector. SCA projects include new schools, modernizations, expansions, emergency repairs and capital improvements. All told, the agency will build 50 new schools and 30 annexes and remodel 70 schools. From a management standpoint, much of the traditional red tape is being eliminated, work is being fast-tracked, managers now have on-site change-order authority, and disputes are settled quickly through on-site nonbinding mediation. Also, the project manager concept has been adopted from the private sector.

Subject Headings: School buildings | Education | Urban areas | Managers | Construction costs | Project delay | Design/Build | Emergency management | New York City | New York | United States

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