By Eric Althoff
BURLINGTON, Wis.—General contractor and construction management company Scherrer Construction has finished work for the Burlington Area School District’s new Karcher Middle School. The new school is part of a general plan by the district to expand the number of students that can be taught within the district.
Designed by Plunkett Raysich Architects, the $35 million Karcher Middle School encompasses 145,000 square feet of educational space that will be utilized by over 700 students. In addition to modern security features, the school will feature fitness rooms, locker rooms, a common area that offers a library, staff office space as well as a modern cafeteria. When it comes to the actual classrooms themselves, Karcher will offer rooms for STEM, art, music and special education classes.
The new school is meant to replace the original Karcher Middle School, which was 100 years old and had for years been in need of so many upgrades that it was more feasible to replace it entirely than renovate the century-old educational space.
Indeed, the reborn Karcher represents just one small part of the Burlington Area School District’s plans for making improvements across the district to its various schools and support facilities.
“The Burlington Area School District continues to grow, and we’re excited to be able to help them do that with the best equipment and learning technology available,” Dan Bay, senior project manager of Scherrer Construction, said in a recent statement. “As learning continues to evolve, Scherrer is proud to be at the forefront of creating enhanced learning spaces for children to excel in school.”
When inquired by School Construction News as to some of the challenges of fashioning a brand-new school to replace an older one might have entailed, Bay said that the ongoing pandemic presented problems not only for constructors’ health but also for materials that were needed for the buildout.
“As is common for many companies in 2021, the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting supply chain issues continues to be a challenge in the building sector,” Bay said. “Delays in both materials and manpower impacted our overall schedule, however, due to our strong project team and communication efforts, we were able to hit critical milestones and still finish the project ahead of schedule. As a result of completing the project early, we were able to vet out any issues with the new facility prior to the owner taking occupancy.”
Furthermore, Bay added that the new school needed to be built within mere feet of one that was still in use.
“Due to this situation, additional safety measures and coordination efforts were taken to make sure construction did not affect the school’s daily activities and student learning,” he said.
Scherrer Construction has been in operation, and family-owned, since 1928. The firm has several offices in its home state of Wisconsin, and many projects beyond the Badger State as well.