Wharton-Smith Wins Multiple Eagle Awards for Orange County Public Schools’ Projects

Sanford, FL – August 28, 2017 – Wharton-Smith, Inc., one of Central Florida’s largest locally based general contractors recently received the prestigious Eagle Award bestowed by the Central Florida Chapter of Associated Builders and Contractor’s (ABC) Excellence in Construction Awards program on two Orange County Public Schools’ (OCPS) projects: Innovation Middle School in the $20-$50 million category, and Windermere High School in the $50-$99 million category. The Eagle Award is the chapter’s highest recognition across each of the judged categories. Team members for both projects will be honored at ABC’s annual awards presentation banquet on October 7th in Orlando.

Innovation Middle School is the first school of its kind for OCPS representing an original prototype designed by architect Harvard Jolly. Built to accommodate overcrowding at Lake Nona Middle School in Southeast Orlando, the 174,686-square-foot, three-story school sits on a 26-acre site and features 21st century learning environments in a cutting-edge, technology-laden facility. It is the first middle school to include a skywalk connecting the multi-story administration building and classroom building. The bridge overlooks the courtyard allowing for increased supervision during class changes and extracurricular activities. The judges recognized the collaborative partnership between OCPS, Harvard Jolly and Wharton-Smith which resulted in a more effective campus plan and more efficient construction process.

Windermere High School is a signature project for OCPS consisting of 340,399 square feet within nine buildings on a nearly 66-acre site. The high school serves approximately 2,800 students and alleviates crowding at the nearby West Orange High School. From groundbreaking to opening, the $93.5 million high school was completed on an accelerated schedule with Wharton-Smith managing multiple construction teams to complete the project in just 18 months. The construction budget for the project was $70 million. One unique feature is a cistern to gather rainwater and pump it into the campus green house. The SchenkelShultz Architecture prototype design incorporates architectural elements that give a “Key West” appeal, including aluminum sunshades, a warm palette paint scheme, and ship lap form liners to add a horizontal clapboard look to the exterior walls.

“Wharton-Smith is proud to have partnered with Orange County Public Schools in delivering these award-winning schools to our communities,” said Tom Widener, Project Executive for Wharton-Smith. “These new campuses represent the commitment that OCPS has in providing the best facilities for the students and families they represent, and we are honored to have had a part in bringing their vision to fruition.”

Both schools were completed on time and opened their doors August 14th for the start of the 2017-2018 school year.

The Central Florida Chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) Excellence in Construction Awards program recognizes and celebrates outstanding projects in the region. Projects are evaluated by judges representing a cross-section of the industry and judged on execution of design, quality of craftsmanship, attention to detail, proper installation, outstanding planning and coordination efforts, challenges successfully overcome, project complexity, custom materials, safety, and owner satisfaction.