Hard Hat Happenings: The First Column

The First Column Inspires my First Column

As we watched the first column – the first upright piece of construction material – on the Bancroft Campus at Mt. Laurel be set into place, my spirits lifted along with it. The hefty piece of metal was lifted by a machine operated by one guy, while two others guided the piece into place and secured it in the fitting waiting for its mate. That was just House D, code for one of the seven pediatric duplex homes being constructed on the campus site.

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Our enthusiastic project manager, Bill Bamford, suggested that we look at the webcam that same afternoon and all the columns in that house would be in place by the end of the day.

And they were!

My monthly visits to the construction site are beyond exciting as I see our vision, our plans come to life. This time Chuck McLister, our COO and Dennis Morgan, our SVP of Community Solutions, Education and Adult Day & Employment Services, joined me in our bobcat tour of the site. It was their first time seeing what they have worked on in design documents for so long, come to reality.

I am learning a lot about construction, the complexity of a multi-building project, and the challenges associated with scheduling the many work crews to maximize the days before winter.

To manage that schedule, the project management team employs a rainbow of Post-it notes with a date written on each and then stuck on a floor-to-ceiling white board with a grid of squares representing each week of construction work for the next year. Any change and every delay require the moving of sticky notes from one square to the next. I am already up at night thinking about that grid!

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In addition to the multi-colored sticky notes on the white board were bursts of bright hues on the actual construction site. Big trucks and equipment in bright yellow, orange, green and white. A sea of yellow and orange safety vests . Big neon orange barriers outlining the walls of the Lindens admin building. So much color, so much activity, so much anticipation of what’s ahead and staying on schedule.

When we left the muddied parking lot, we were assured by Bill that he would be the one to stay up at night worrying and not us. We are making great progress.

Dennis left humbled.

Chuck left inspired.

I left grateful.

-Toni

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