Remodeled program space at Northeast Tech slated to open this spring

Remodeled program space at Northeast Tech slated to open this spring
Posted on 01/31/2018
Northeast Tech administrators recently enlisted the services of Brewer Construction to transform one of the Pryor Campus’s vacant buildings into a new home for the electrical program. When complete, the 9,300 square foot building will provide students with more space, new training technology and classroom and shop environments better suited to modern learning needs.  Commuters driving past Northeast Tech’s Pryor Campus have likely noticed ongoing construction on one of the buildings nearest to Highway 20. Formerly used for the Manufactory Industrial Technology (MIT) program, the renovated building will soon house the district’s highly popular electrical program.

“The class is busting at the seams,” said Electrical Instructor Rodney Darnell. “The classroom and shop spaces were not designed for the number of students we have enrolled in the program nor do they have the space needed for training with the many new types of technology in the electrical industry.”

In order to better accommodate the spatial and technology needs of the program, the district enlisted the services of Brewer Construction to transform one of the campus’s vacant buildings into a new home for the electrical program.

Chad Brewer, president of Brewer Construction, has played a lead role in managing the construction process, which included a great deal of pre-planning research.

“We went around and toured different facilities – one in Stillwater and a couple in Tulsa – took the good qualities from what we saw and morphed that into what we see here,” said Brewer. “We did a lot of planning and designing with the project team that includes the architect, GH2, us and the client, Northeast Tech, before we ever started construction.”

Taylor King is the pre-construction director at Brewer, and he is tasked with organizing all the preliminary planning that takes place. This includes working with architects, engineers and local officials. His job is to coordinate communication to speed up the schedule.

“There are basically two types of projects: new construction and renovations,” King said. “New construction goes a little faster, and usually takes 1-2 years depending on project. Renovations take more time and creativity. It takes closer to two years just in the preliminary stages of a renovation, because of all the programming that takes place.”

Officials at Northeast Tech chose to use the construction management process for this 9,300 square foot remodel, which included an addition of 1,500 square feet to the building’s original footprint. Construction management brings together the owner, architect and contractor at the beginning of the process to not only establish a budget, but to make sure the design and construction activities stay within that budget.

“This project is unique in that we designed it around the existing building, which saved the taxpayers a lot of money,” Brewer said. “The savings is upwards of $200-250 thousand, because we used materials that were already here – the masonry, the steel, the concrete – yet when we’re done, you won’t even know those materials were already here. It’s going to look like a brand new facility.”

Despite reusing many of the building’s original materials, King is quick to point out the quality that can still be seen in these 40-year-old supplies.

“There’s probably a third of this building that we didn’t have to pay for again, and I would argue that some of the old materials are better than what we get today,” King said. “The steel and the masonry, for example. Both of these were and are still high-quality building materials, so it made sense to reuse them.”

Aesthetically, the new building is designed to blend in seamlessly with the other structures on the campus, yet King is confident there will be enough modern elements to inspire pride in the students who enter.

“One of the things we’re losing in the construction industry is craftsmanship – people who take pride in what they do. I think some of the young people see the learning environments in construction trades as antiquated, with poor ventilation and poor lighting,” said King. “When we can get a fun, contemporary environment like what will be in this facility, it’s a chance to create a learning environment that might rekindle the craftsman trade.”

The remodeled electrical trades facility is scheduled to open in the spring of 2018, and enrollment for the program is currently underway. Those interested in learning more about the program should contact the Pryor Campus at 918-825-5555.
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