Bacon Construction/Agostini Construction Joint Venture

Agostini Bacon pic

Built by Agostini and Bacon Construction, the new high school in Plymouth, Mass., is a huge undertaking for these seasoned firms.

By Angela Forsyth

Coming soon to Plymouth, Mass., is a newly constructed $90.3 million school – a big budget for a big, 248,000-square-foot high school. Although the size and cost are monumental, the job isn’t too big for Agostini Construction and Bacon Construction, two companies run by one family. Plymouth South High School is a Bacon Agostini Construction joint venture that broke ground in July 2015 and will be completed by May 2017.

The transition from the old school is meant to be seamless. High school students are using their current building while construction is underway on the new structure that sits on what used to be the school’s athletic fields. Once the new building is finished, the old one will be abated and demolished and new athletic fields installed in its place. “It’s a large project in a short time,” Senior Project Manager Rick Reuter notes. However, Bacon and Agostini construction are among the top educational school contractors in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. They’re up for the challenge. 

The design by Ai3 Architects LLC enlists a combination of modern materials that give the school an updated, yet traditional look. Red brick and splitface CMU veneers will cover most of the building’s surface along with several other veneers. These are combined with mineral fiber cement siding and Azek PVC trim, as well as aluminum composite panels.

The three-story school building will consist of seven zones that include auto and woodshop vocational rooms, science rooms, science prep rooms, labs, traditional classrooms, administration office, nurse’s office, cafeteria, kitchens, locker rooms, gym, band room an auditorium and more. Two massive circular staircases – one of them located at the front entrance – will add a special architectural quality to the interior layout.

Distinctive Details

Plymouth South High will feature some unique qualities reminiscent of the olden days. The designated vocational rooms for woodshop and auto shop are rarely seen in modern-day school construction. This design calls for the two large rooms with polished concrete floors. Another forgotten classic included in this construction is a culinary area. Once called Home Economics and later Family and Consumer Science, this Culinary Area will include a full kitchen, restaurant and cafe for students to practice cooking and serving.Bacon Agostini box

The joint venture has encountered some challenges on the project. Hidden – but more important than any other material – is the spray fireproofing of structural steel used throughout the construction. “On this and the last project we worked on, all the steel is fireproofed,” Reuter says. “It makes for tougher scheduling because fireproofing requires 40 degrees temperature 24 hours before and 24 hours after.”  However, thanks to the fireproofed steel, there’s no need for fire partitions and separations in the walls and ceilings.

One of the first phases to be completed will be the football/multiuse field with synthetic turf and a surrounding track. This field is being constructed at the location of the old football field and is scheduled to be completed in August of 2016. Next to it will be a new building for halftime, restrooms, and storage. New tennis courts are also scheduled to be completed this August. The existing school building abatement and demolition is scheduled to start the summer of 2017, after which construction of new baseball, softball, lacrosse and additional multiuse fields will begin. The project also includes a new onsite wastewater treatment facility. The final completion of the entire project is scheduled for the summer of 2018.

This summer will be the peak construction time, with 220 tradespersons on hand to get it done on time. One of the biggest goals at this point is to get the entire building enclosed before this winter so it will be ready for interior finish work during the cold winter months.

Best Practices

Run by second- and third-generation family members George Agostini and Steve Agostini, the Bacon and Agostini companies are known for finishing projects on time and satisfying their clients. The owners pride themselves on being intimately involved in each project. “They meet with the superintendent every week, and then come back and have weekly meetings with our team,” Reuter notes. “They rely entirely on lower management and manage from afar. They’re there to respond to any concerns and meet directly with the owner.”

Safety is another main point of interest for this family, which has been in business since 1967. The companies meet OSHA standards and issues site-specific safety plans for each project. Foremen and carpenters walk the projects daily, looking for any safety issues to address immediately. A private safety consulting firm is also hired to come to the projects unannounced, execute inspections and write weekly reports. Whether it’s a loose board or a worker without a face shield, the consultants fix the issue right then, but it’s also included in the report for Agostini to follow up and stay on top of it.

Workers are encouraged to look out for their own safety as well as others. A reward system is in place for being 100 days accident-free. Once the team completes 100 days, a lunch is held with a raffle for the employees. In February, the Plymouth South High School construction crew completed the first set of 100 days and was rewarded with a luncheon. The team is well on the way to the second one. 

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