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July 2022

State Contracting & Engineering Corp. (SCEC) completed major renovations at the West Technical Education Center in Belle Glade. This successful Construction Management at Risk project for the School District of Palm Beach County (SDPBC) helped improve and update the nine-building campus in western Palm Beach County.

Construction on the 81,000 SF project began in Spring 2021. The vocational school serves both high school and adult education students year-round, offering classes during day and evening hours. West Tech’s students “learn to earn” in various construction and medical trades, learning skills to join the workforce.  

Dr. Charlene Ford, Principal at West Tech, said one of the biggest project challenges was coordinating spaces for instruction versus construction. SCEC worked with Dr. Ford and other school staff to ensure the school had clean spaces available for classes while other areas were undergoing renovations and upgrades.

“Superintendent Chris Blakeslee of SCEC did an amazing job,” said Dr. Ford. “He kept me informed every step of the process and shared his knowledge when I needed insight into the construction field to enhance the programming offered at West Tech. He effectively juggled the needs of our school and the construction schedule to make it a win-win situation.”

The scope of work for the $6.9 million project included roof replacement, Air Handling Unit replacements, upgrades HVAC controls, new shop and classroom lighting, ADA restroom renovations, exterior and parking lot lighting, landscape, and exterior paint. Civil and sitework included parking lot upgrades with new drainage, water and sewer components. A new CDL driver training course lot was incorporated as well.

SCEC partnered with Hatcher Construction & Development, a SDPBC Certified SBE, to help manage the project, with Hatcher providing both onsite and off-site services. West Tech represents 15 projects together for the SCEC/Hatcher team.

“West Tech was a great partnership for us,” said President William Hatcher. “Our Assistant Superintendent received great training and knowledge that he can bring back to the company, which makes us more valuable in our partnerships with State Contracting and with the School District. It’s a win-win.”

SCEC’s project goals included making a positive impact on the local West Tech and Belle Glade community. SCEC sponsored a Chick-Fil-A food truck visit to West Tech and provided 100 meals to current and prospective students and staff on the opening night of the school’s pre-apprenticeship trade registration. SCEC’s professional safety consultant donated his time to present a construction safety introductory workshop onsite, and SCEC provided 25 vouchers for students to complete OSHA’s 10-Hour Construction Safety training course online.

As the project neared completion, SCEC provided what Dr. Ford refers to as “a beautiful centerpiece” by completely refreshing the school’s entrance monument sign. SCEC designed, constructed and donated the new sign, which now features West Tech’s modern four-color logo on two sides. Said Dr. Ford, “It is the pièce de résistance of the entire project!”

“Our facility is much improved in terms of function, energy efficiency, and aesthetics,” Dr. Ford continued. “The work completed by SCEC for the School District, including additional lighting, has helped kickstart the process of making our campus safer as well as aesthetically pleasing.”

SCEC President Paul Carty said his team appreciated the chance to make a difference. “West Tech is a one-of-a-kind facility dedicated to making a tangible difference in its students’ lives and careers. We are proud to have been a part of this unique community.”


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