Officials, patrons, students and staff assembled for the recent ribbon-cutting at the American Leadership Academy Applied Technologies (ALAAT) school in Mesa, Arizona.

August 10, 2022

Team Overcomes Many Hurdles so New School Opens on Schedule

Haskell's expertise overcame permitting delays and supply-chain challenges to complete the visionary career-focused school in Mesa, Arizona, on time.


Because of an unavoidable six-week delay related to permitting in July 2021, Haskell’s construction of the American Leadership Academy Applied Technologies (ALAAT) school in Mesa, Arizona, was behind schedule.

Additional hurdles along the way, including weather issues and the “very, very late delivery” of the electrical panels, compounded the challenge, according to Lane Sutton, Haskell’s Director of Construction for the project.

Despite numerous challenges, Haskell ensured that the American Leadership Academy Applied Technologies (ALAAT) school in Mesa, Arizona, was ready for the first day of school Monday.

“Typically, delays on a project translate to a later completion date, but that wasn’t an option on this project,” Sutton said. “It was a school, and it had to open on time. Thanks to a Herculean effort from the Haskell team, the facility welcomed students as scheduled on Monday.”

Getting there was a mix of hard work, determination and teamwork.

Sutton joined the project team in January to support Haskell’s commitment to the owner to complete the project for the 2022 school year opening. He said that, in the current market climate, it’s common for challenges to arise in the course of projects – most often linked to labor and materials, such as the electrical panels – and require dedicated attention or clarification. But, with a hard deadline, the Haskell team, led by Sutton and Project Director Ken Duncan and utilized Haskell’s internal scheduling department’s expertise, to identify ways to keep working most efficiently. And they did so very successfully.

Sutton said they brought in large, temporary HVAC units and generators to acclimate the space and allow finishes to continue to progress while the team waited for the panels to arrive.

The project team also worked closely with the manufacturer to adjust numerous factors, including which factory was building the electrical panels.

“It required coordination from multiple members of our team, including the owner,” Sutton said, “but the manufacturer worked with us and got it done on a less-than-ideal timeline, but one the team could make work.”

The manufacturer, like most, was experiencing severe supply chain issues, and Haskell was just one of many companies asking for a quicker turnaround. How did Haskell get what it needed before others?

“You have to be the squeakiest wheel,” Sutton said.

It helped that Haskell was working with a repeat customer, currently building an ALA school in Lexington, South Carolina. “They have a lot of faith in us,” Sutton said. “They know we’re not going to let them down, and knowing that provides even more fuel to deliver for our customer.”

Experience in a New School Concept

At more than 200,000 square feet (SF) the facility is the largest and most complex ever built by Schoolhouse Development, LLC, the project owner. The site encompasses approximately 30 acres developed to accommodate 2,000 high school students. The main school building is a two-story, tilt-up concrete structure with structural steel framing, bar joists and foam applied roofing system. There is a prominent entry feature, and the building is divided into 10 separate zones, with a common large cafeteria/gymnasium area in the center. The campus also features a 5,000 SF metal-framed maintenance building.

Assistant Project Manager Phillip McDaniel, left, Senior Project Manager Jason Heuler, center, and Director of Project Development Ken Duncan are pictured in an ALAAT hallway.

ALAAT represents an investment in Career and Technical Education (CTE) educational programs in which students are provided intensive training in a chosen field of study in conjunction with their standard high school curriculum.

The 10 career-training fields are based on skills most in demand by employers, with an emphasis on fields in which high-paying jobs are offered. They are Aviation, Automotive Tech, Construction, Cosmetology, Health Services, Business/Finance, Information Technology, First Responders, Education and Hospitality. Graduates earn an associate degree and go directly into the workforce.

Haskell enthusiastically supports the concept. “In some part,” Sutton said, “this school will help improve our industry, and we want to make sure our customer is provided with a building that allows them to be successful in that pursuit.”

A Total Team Effort

Sutton praised the Haskell team’s perseverance and ability to maintain its morale. That positivity makes a difficult job a lot easier.

He praised Assistant Superintendent Jon Womack for driving the interior buildout of the structure. “He was the biggest boots-on-the-ground in making sure we were able to honor our commitment to our customer and hit that end date,” Sutton said.

Senior Project Manager Jason Heuler became a direct line of communication with the owner and made sure the paths to completion were clear and fluid, with the tremendous help from Assistant Project Manager Phillip McDaniel.

The best part of the experience for Sutton was being able to support and mentor the team, making sure the members had the resources they needed internally and externally. Sutton was proud of how the entire team came together and embodied Haskell's Core Values of Team, Excellence, Service and Trust.

Sutton said the school’s owner celebrated with the community two weeks ago. The Haskell team had its celebration Monday night, a few hours after the end of the first day of school.

Are you facing a project that absolutely, positively needs to meet a deadline? Certainty of outcome is a hallmark of Haskell projects. Contact us to discuss how to get the job done – on time and within budget.

Haskell delivers $2± billion annually in Architecture, Engineering, Construction (AEC) and Consulting solutions to assure certainty of outcome for complex capital projects worldwide. Haskell is a global, fully integrated, single-source design-build and EPC firm with over 2,200 highly specialized, in-house design, construction and administrative professionals across industrial and commercial markets. With 20+ office locations around the globe, Haskell is a trusted partner for global and emerging clients.

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