D.H. Griffin Construction Co.

If there’s anything that teachers need in a school, it is an environment where they can keep a watchful eye on students and make sure that the young ones are not getting into any trouble.  And that is what D.H. Griffin Construction Co. is giving them with the new Rolesville Middle School in Greensboro, N.C., Program Manager John Witcher says.

Instead of impeding the teachers and preventing them from doing their jobs, “It allows the staff that operates the facility to monitor things without having mirrors and cameras,” Witcher explains.

“They still have [mirrors and cameras], but they’re able to look down hallways and see the other side of the building,” he says.

D.H. Griffin is the general contractor for the new school, which will cover approximately 250,000 square feet and feature a three-story classroom wing, a gymnasium and an auditorium/lunchroom. Witcher notes that the project will be finished in June 2012.

The Third Go-Round

The design of the Rolesville Middle School marks the third use of a prototype that D.H. Griffin designed with Skinner, Lamm & Highsmith Architects, a firm based in Wilson, N.C. Previously, the two companies used the design twice, for Wake County Public School District’s Holly Grove Middle School in Holly Springs, N.C., and Mills Park Middle School in Cary, N.C.

Because D.H. Griffin has essentially built the same building twice, “The flow of [this] project seems to be going very well,” Witcher says, adding that the contractor reused drawings and applied the lessons that it had already learned before on the previous projects.

For instance, when it came time to pour the concrete floor of an art room for Rolesville, D.H. Griffin did it all at once. Previously, the company had poured halves of it at separate times, giving the floor “a color differentiation,” he says. “Now the floor is going to look monolithic.”

Additionally, “There were hardly any conflicts with things like main heaters, sewer water, HVAC systems and so on,” Witcher continues. Instead, “Doing a lot of the rough-ins inside [also] has been much easier on the third go-round.”

With the time that it has saved, D.H. Electric has been able to begin the school’s landscaping. “We went ahead and started the growing season for the ball fields,” he says.

Close Coordination

D.H. Griffin has had strong relations with its subcontractors on the Rolesville project, Witcher says. “The subcontractors have been very receptive to a lot of the conversations and coordination efforts,” he says, adding that the company took its subtrades on a tour of the other two facilities.

The company also has benefited from the work of Multivista Construction Documentation Inc., a photo documentation firm. Multivista, Witcher explains, took 23,000 pictures of the two other schools as they were being built.

This allowed D.H. Griffin to show the subcontractors the progression of the schools, as they were being built. “They were able to take that information to help determine what they needed to do for their job now,” Witcher says.

D.H. Griffin’s other key partners include Airflow Experts Inc. and Honeywell (NC).

Needs for the Future

Witcher has been with the Greensboro-based D.H. Griffin for eight-and-a-half years. He notes that the company has managed to nurture a loyal base of repeat customers.  “We’ve developed those relationships in such areas as the public sector of work as well as any private sector,” he says.

“No matter what the project is, we do a good job for them in our quality control, safety and delivery,” he says. “It is [better work] than our competition delivers.”

He says D.H. Griffin hopes to work again for Wake County, but is uncertain that it will do so soon. “The financial status the whole world is in [is] quite detrimental in awarding new projects,” he says.

Although there is a bond referendum in play, “Most of those monies are already doled out for projects underway,” he says, but asserts that he is staying quite hopeful.

“We are living in an area that has still an influx of people,” Witcher continues, explaining that many families with children move into the region each month. “Due to the growth in the area, schools will need to be built in the future,” he notes.

Witcher says he hopes that D.H. Griffin will be one of the contractors that produces those facilities. “Our relationship [with Wake County] is such that I do feel very confident that we would be looked at favorably [for another project],” he says.

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