Studying science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) courses is key to the future success of Omaha’s youth. But building a strong foundation for the school where these students learn is equally important. That’s why general contractor McCarthy Building Cos. recently recruited Stephens & Smith’s Foundation team to help build Omaha Public Schools’ new high school at 60th and L streets. Stephen & Smith’s Project Manager Steve Estep and Site Foreman Rolando Espino worked closely with McCarthy’s Project Superintendent Zachary Cerise to discuss plans for OPS’ first new high school since the 1970s. Espino and his team began erecting more than 43,000 square feet of formwork in October 2019. This was done to shape more than 200 tons of reinforcing steel and 4,600-plus cubic yards of concrete. Estep noted that Espino’s team has a great working relationship with customers and co-workers, which results in a great product. “They constantly strive — and succeed — in exceeding expectations set forth by our team and the general contractor,” Estep said.

Omaha Foundation Department helping to build first city high school in decades

The foundation made by Stephens & Smith will support the three story school that will have numerous natural light-filled classrooms and decentralized school administrator offices situated throughout the building so they’re closer to students. The 285,000-square-foot building also will sit on the site of the former Ryan High School and will feature a substantial amount of brickwork, which required significant preparation work by Stephens & Smith employees. “One of the challenges was the large amount of brick ledge on the walls,” Estep said. “But we have a good team of craft employees who devised an effective process to minimize waste and save time and money.”

According to OPS Superintendent Dr. Cheryl Logan, the new $92 million bond-funded school will accommodate 1,500 students and is expected to be open for the 2022-23 school year. The facility’s flexible design will include marker board walls, multifunctional spaces and maker studios, creating a true 21st century learning environment.

About Stephens & Smith Construction Company

Founded in 1971, Stephens & Smith Construction Company Inc. focuses on services in residential and commercial flatwork, foundations, decorative concrete, and specialty products.  The company’s reputation and credibility speak for itself.  With over 45 years in business, they have grown exponentially over the years, due to their unique structure and approach to the company makeup.  Their reputation has been the very foundation of their expansion, along with the valuable employees that have joined the team along the way.  More information on the company’s notable achievements, services provided, and history can be seen on their website as well.