For most college campuses, summer consists of less than three months. Between the end of one school year and the beginning of another, there is a flurry of activity happening simultaneously including new student orientation, landscaping, internal staff development and maintenance to get ready for the coming school year. By far the most noticeable and anticipated task completed during the summer is construction. While it can take years to plan for a campus construction project, it is no surprise that the timing of and preparation for the construction is carefully considered.
Timing: Benefits of Summer
Summer is the perfect time for construction on college campuses. In a recent interview, University of Pennsylvania’s Design and Construction Executive Director Mike Dausch said, “We generally do more [construction] during the summer because that is when we do a lot of our exterior projects. We try not to do that type of work, or not to do nearly as much of it during the academic year.”
Completing construction projects during the summer bypasses challenges that would otherwise be encountered during the school year. Benefits of scheduling construction projects during this time of year include:
- Less need to restrict construction sound (students not in class)
- Better weather for quicker construction (lower chance for snow and ice)
- Lower risk of pedestrian safety concerns (students not on campus)
- Added value of revealing new building at the beginning of a new school year
- Less hindrance on quality of life for students living on campus
Preparation: Getting the Campus Ready
Even without construction occurring during the summer, campuses operate differently these few months between school years than when campus is active. Plus, it can take time for staff to adjust to a change in their routine.
As a result, it is important to have a communication plan in place to prepare a campus for summer construction project. Taking proper precautions can help a project start on time, maintain optimal conditions to ensure progress can be made without hindrances, minimize disruptions and even create excitement. A few suggestions include:
- Begin sending announcements a few weeks before construction begins to staff and students who will remain on campus throughout the summer
- Place necessary detour signage to direct foot and vehicle traffic around construction site
- Erect adequate safety barriers to create division between pedestrian areas and active work zones
- Require all construction workers wear proper PPE so they are easily identifiable on campus
- Ensure all building entrances are clear of obstructions
- Clear routes for material and equipment delivery
Communicating about Construction on Campus
A lot of work goes into planning and preparing for a campus construction project, but this growth is also a great opportunity to promote the campus including:
- Send out a press release announcing the start of the project
- Create large signage with details about the project to place on site including project renderings, projected completion date, and project statistics.
- Include the construction site as a highlight on prospective student campus tours during the summer, which emphasizes campus growth and commitment to the student experience.
- Post progress photos of the project online (on both website and social media).
Though campus construction projects take a long time to plan and prepare for, the process can be made simpler when using an experienced construction management team. Learn more about Mowery’s experience with college campus construction or contact us to get started on your next project.