Spotlight on Southwestern Illinois Commercial Construction
New Mount Vernon Township High School, McCarthy Building Companies, Inc.
By MELISSA CROCKETT MESKE
After four years of planning, construction of the new Mount Vernon Township High School is underway. The facility is located at the intersection of Wells Bypass and Ambassador Road, just a few miles from the high school’s current location.
The new school will be approximately 315,000 square feet and housed on an 82-acre site. Direct construction costs are estimated at $62 million, with total construction costs estimated at $73 million. The state of Illinois is providing roughly $48 million for the project.
With a 1,800-student capacity, the school is planned to open for the 2016-2017 academic year. Substantial completion is projected for May 2016, with relocation of remaining equipment and supplies from the old facility to the new location to follow over the summer months.
Brian Baldwin, of McCarthy Building Companies, Inc., said the project is an owner-agent contract, which allows McCarthy to act as the “eyes and ears on-site” for the school district in terms of scheduling, quality, budget and safety. However, the district retains the contracts of all the project’s trade contractors.
Baldwin highlighted some of the features of the new facility. One is the career and technical education center. The CTE will provide instruction and training in the trades, including robotics, machine shop, welding, carpentry, and automotive technology. Students will attend not only from Mount Vernon Township district but from other districts as well.
Other features include a fully functional theater with seating for just over 600, flexible classrooms that can adapt to various needs both in terms of capacity and technology, and the location of the Regional Office of Education within the main building. One other notable change from the old school that Baldwin pointed out is that of a completely closed campus. Students will no longer have to leave one building and move to another between classes.
McCarthy’s offices in Collinsville serve as the hub for their Illinois operations. The company, headquartered out of St. Louis, is 100-percent employee-owned firm and boasts 150 years of construction experience.