School Business Affairs May 2019 SCHOOL BUSINESS AFFAIRS | MAY 2019 17 FORECASTING & PLANNING Successful Facility ProjectManagement Careful planning prior to construction can ward off surprises later. By Sean Gordon, CPMM, CPS P lanning facility projects around the typical 7- to 10-week summer break makes sense, but it allows insufficient time for errors. There- fore, the most opportune time to set up the project for success is long before the construction starts. Careful planning and management before the first day of construction can avoid surprises midproject when it may be too late or too expensive to remedy. Here are some strategies for successful project management. Bidding the Project When school facility projects go out for bid, contractors must have all pertinent information and expecta- tions so they can provide an accurate submission. The reference informa- tion is usually in the form of project manuals and architectural drawings. These tools are essentially the only documents that the contrac- tors are required to follow in order to complete the job. Consequently, school district officials need to be familiar with those documents and all aspects of the project, including process, expectations, and schedule, which should be clearly spelled out to ensure that the space will be ready for occupancy. It is wise to issue bid documents along with submittal guidelines as early as possible. In Community Consolidated School District 93 in Bloomingdale, Illinois, we try to award our contracts no later than the second board meeting in Octo- ber. That gives us seven months to CCSD 93’s Stratford Middle School Innovation Center in Illinois features embedded technology, flexible furniture, and bright, inspiring colors. PHOTOS COURTESY OF COMMUNITY CONSOLIDATED SCHOOL DISTRICT 93, BLOOMINGDALE, ILLINOIS