SMC Finds Design-Build Success at Solano Community College Distrct

Contributor: Swinerton Blogger   |   June 24, 2015
SMC Finds Design-Build Success at Solano Community College Distrct

The Solano Community College District (SCCD) Bond Program is a comprehensive construction and modernization program that will be phased over a six-year period at SCCD’s three campuses. These improvements will assist SCCD’s ability to serve a growing community well into the 21 century. To maximize value of bond dollar expenditure, SCCD is utilizing a variety of innovative project delivery methods to deliver design and construction, including lease-leaseback and design-build. Swinerton Management & Consulting (SMC) was selected by SCCD to manage the program’s two design-build projects—a new Autotech Center at the Vallejo campus, and a new Biotech building at the Vacaville campus.

The Autotech Center at the Vallejo campus will house a new program currently located in an old Ford dealership. The new center will include a skills lab to teach students how to service and repair engines, transmissions, electronics, and hybrid and alternative fuel vehicles. The building will include classroom space and 12 workstations outfitted with vehicle lifts, diagnostic equipment, and tools.

A challenging aspect of the project was that the District changed the project site after the criteria documents were in progress by the architect, delaying the project for six months, which resulted in additional work for the project team. To overcome this challenge, SMC worked with the architect to complete the documents in a way that could adapt the project to different sites. The team also provided the District with a complete analysis of the schedule, cost, and potential design risks associated with the delay, which pushed the District to expedite its site decision, which ultimately minimized these risks.

The new Biotech building, housed at the Vacaville campus will consolidate SCCD’s programs in Vacaville, and develop a synergy with the city’s emerging biotech industry. The program prepares graduates to work in the biotechnology industry, develop skills in best manufacturing practices, record maintenance, and compliance with quality assurance procedures and government regulations. 

A challenge the team faced on this project was that an unusually large number of design-builders submitted qualifications, making the selection process difficult for the team. Despite a rigorous pre-qualification process, the attractiveness of the project to the design-build market resulted in 10 pre-qualified design-build entities (DBEs). To narrow down this selection, the team added a quick, straightforward short-listing approach, which resulted in three skilled DBEs who will submit proposals for the project. This process allowed Swinerton and the District to evaluate the teams and select three highly-qualified groups in a two week time period, resulting in little schedule impact, and assurances for a highly-qualified DBE.