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Building on Trust

 

Seminole Independent School District replaces and upgrades nearly all of its facilities in an aggressive five year time span. MW Builders starts, manages — and finishes — strong.

Doug Harriman is clear about what’s important to him.

His West Texas drawl is friendly with a slight twang, and his words are straight-forward and direct. Harriman is a family man and an educator.

The husband, father of two, and now grandfather of one, is dedicated to delivering the best care and education he can to the 2,600 students of the Seminole Independent School District in Seminole, Texas.

Harriman and the 460 employees of the district are responsible for a 900 square mile area in the dry, flat region of Texas best known for its oil production. The vast district is dotted with thousands of oil wells, and has about 15,000 residents. The city of Seminole sits only about 30 miles from the New Mexico state line.

Since 2007, the district has been steadily upgrading and adding to its facilities, many of which were originally constructed in the 1940’s. To date, the district has completed, or has in the works, about $100 million in new building and renovation projects. MW Builders has served as the construction manager for these projects, and Harriman is clear about what’s important to him in this aspect of his job as well.

“Trust is the number one reason we work with MW Builders,” said Harriman.

“I have an expectation that what I’m told is true and that people will do what they say they’re going to do. The managers at MW Builders have a great handle on things and they follow through.”

Building for Today and Tomorrow

Harriman has been with the district for 30 years, and has served as super- intendent for the past 13. Oil production has brought new families to the area, and the number of students has grown. Older buildings weren’t keeping up with existing student needs, and based on population projections, they wouldn’t be able to keep up in the future.

A facilities study commissioned in 2007 was the basis for a $110 million bond issue. Once approved and funded, projects were prioritized and planned.

Harriman did his homework before engaging MW Builders as the construction manager. He spoke with other Texas school district leaders and they gave MW Builders high marks.

Phase 1 called for a new junior high school. The facilities provided the Seminole district with upgrades in safety, education and energy efficiency.

Things have gone smoothly due in large part to the good people involved, like Matt Cunningham of MW Builders who served as project manager for the high school.

“Our director of operations for the school district, Jesse Greenfield, has done an outstanding job managing our interests, and the key people at MW Builders have been excellent as well,” said Harriman. “Matt Cunningham is organized and responsive. He gets things done.”

Latest Projects and Punch List Perseverance

Projects currently underway include a new primary school, new high school classrooms/fine arts wing, and renovation of F.J. Young Elementary and the old junior high that will be used for administrative offices.

As with any construction project, there is always a punch list. These are the little things that need doing, finer points of adjustment and finishing.

“The last five percent of a project is difficult to complete sometimes,” said Harriman. “MW Builders has done a great job of working through the final stages of our projects and taking care of the little things. It’s hard to find people that do that well.”

He’s also appreciated the expertise of MW Builders in keeping the projects moving and staffed up. Skilled labor in West Texas can be scarce due to the oil boom. MW Builders relies on a large network of subcontractors and maintains good relationships. It’s a valuable trait in a construction manager.

Harriman is clear on one final point.

“We get transparency and professionalism with the folks at MW Builders,” said Harriman. “They’ve helped us improve our school district and our community, and I’d highly recommend their work to anyone.”