Conn. Governor, KBE Building Corp. Celebrate Opening of $60.5-Million J.M. Wright Technical High School

Newly re-opened school underwent 202,400 s/f renovation

STAMFORD, Conn., Aug. 28, 2014 – J.M. Wright, the State Technical High School no one thought could be completed in 15 months, opened as scheduled on Aug. 27, with a fanfare ribbon-cutting attended by Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy; State Technical High School System Superintendent Dr. Nivea Torres; and KBE Building Corporation Senior Vice President and owner Simon F. Etzel, Jr.

“My deepest thanks to KBE Building Corporation,” said Bud Salemi, Deputy Commissioner of the Division of Construction Services, CT Department of Administrative Services, at the ribbon-cutting ceremony. “We told you we needed this project completed in 15 months, and you stuck your neck out and said you would get it done. And you did. No one will ever forget that. This is the fastest we’ve ever done a technical high school!”

KBE served as Construction Manager at Risk for the project, which encompassed 202,400 s/f of renovations and the addition of two entrances that help unify the school building aesthetically. The architect was Northeast Collaborative Architects.

“Technical high schools pose some unique design challenges, especially the ability to repurpose spaces to accommodate both student enrollment growth and updated technology,” said KBE Senior Vice President Simon Etzel. “We were privileged to work with a client and a design firm that embraced those challenges to help give J.M. Wright students the high-quality education they deserve.”

One key factor in meeting the very aggressive schedule was the use of 3-D Laser Scanning (3DLS). KBE recommended a full 3-D laser scan of the interior of the building to document existing conditions prior to completion of the design documents. Once the interior demolition of the existing school was complete, a Leica ScanStation was used to scan the exposed structure to create a ‘point cloud’ of information. Every unique dimension of the building was detailed with laser precision to provide existing conditions data. The resulting ‘point cloud’ was then converted into a 3-D model with Revit to use as the basis for structural and mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) trade coordination. This approach helped avoid the potential delays and cost increases typically associated with the unexpected surprises that come with renovating an older building.

“The use of 3DLS during the preconstruction planning phase was one of the most critical factors in our ability to complete this project on such a fast-tracked schedule,” said Etzel. “The other reason we could make this schedule was the high level of cooperation and collaboration between the State, the architect, and our team.”

The new building’s highlights include the following:

  • Exterior masonry restoration and redone interior finishes
  • New windows, new curtain wall systems, and new roof
  • Full upgrade to high-efficiency mechanical and electrical systems
  • New equipment for technical education shops and laboratories
  • New kitchen and dining hall
  • Fully renovated lecture hall with new seating and state-of-the-art lighting and sound systems
  • LEED certification

Located at 120 Bridge Street in Stamford, J.M. Wright offers ten innovative technical programs, including a first-of-its-kind in the nation facilities management program. Open for the first time since 2009, the school is part of Connecticut’s technical high school system, which is becoming an increasingly more popular option for students seeking higher education alternatives.

Since 2002, KBE has helped keep Connecticut’s technical high school system cutting-edge by completing eight construction projects across the state at schools including E.C. Goodwin, W.F. Kaynor, and Harvard Ellis.

“It’s been great watching Connecticut’s technical high school enrollment increase during the past 12 years,” said Etzel. “KBE is also helping students succeed after graduation – this year we offered $17,000 in scholarships to 34 graduating technical high school students pursuing higher education in construction and related fields.”

The scholarships were part of KBE’s corporate philanthropic program 50 Ways to Make a Difference. Established in 2009 to celebrate the firm’s new ownership, name change, and 50 years in business, 50 Ways has helped KBE associates donate more than $1.2 million and 5,000 volunteer hours to charitable causes benefiting children, seniors, and military veterans in Connecticut and Maryland. Fittingly, this year’s beneficiaries are students within Connecticut’s technical high school system.

High-resolution photos of J.M. Wright Technical High School are available here. All photo credits to Paul Burk Photography.

Caption: Exterior, J.M. Wright Technical High School

Caption: J.M. Wright’s facilities management program, first-of-its-kind in the nation

About KBE Building Corporation

Regionally located in Farmington, Conn., and Columbia, Md., KBE Building Corporation is a full-service, single-source commercial construction company strategically positioned to serve the Eastern and Mid-Atlantic U.S. Founded in 1959 and incorporated in 1966, the firm is celebrating its 55th year providing preconstruction, construction management, design-build, and general contracting services to clients in the educational, senior living, federal, corporate, hospitality, health care, institutional, and retail markets. KBE has managed more than $2.5 billion in construction volume over the last decade and is ranked among Engineering News-Record magazine’s top 400 construction companies nationally.

Media Contact: Jonelle Lawhorn | KBE Director of Marketing

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