• Posted:Thursday, August 2, 2012 12:05 am

    By American staff|

    Roger L. CayCe, executive director of operations for St. Louis Public Schools, says the district already has committed more than $77 million of Proposition S construction dollars to various facility-improvement projects, very nearly its minority inclusion goal in contracting of 40 percent.

    The district’s Special Administrative Board set inclusion goals of 40 percent minority-owned business enterprises (MBE) and five percent women-owned business enterprises (WBE), with a 40 percent “boots in the field” workforce goal of 40 percent.

    “To date, we have exceeded our WBE goal by nine percent and boots-in-the-field goal by seven percent,” CayCe said. “We currently are at 39 percent MBE, which I’m sure we will exceed the 40 percent goal before the program is completed.”

    Improvements underway or completed include building tuck-pointing, roof replacement and repairs, kitchen and restroom renovations, playscape and bleacher installations and window replacements. Radio equipment, door access controls and fire alarms are being updated, as well as metal detector installation in various high schools.

    Kwame Building Group, a St. Louis-based minority-owned construction management firm, has the construction management contract. Kwame will oversee the renovation design, construction implementation, diversity initiatives, and student engagement and community outreach efforts.

    “I’m a firm believer that leadership is set by example. That was one of the factors that impressed the evaluation team about the construction management team we hired for this program,” CayCe said.

    “Kwame has hired two minority sub consultants, Hudson and Associates, LLC, a women/minority-owned community relations and communications firm, and Arcturis, a woman-owned multi-discipline design and architecture firm to perform very meaningful roles on the project.”

    CayCe is overseeing the construction management team efforts to ensure  projects are executed on schedule and within the program’s budget.

    "We are very pleased with the construction progress being made to date", CayCe said. "We have completed 37 projects with more than half of the construction dollars remaining. Restroom renovations are currently underway; several kitchen equipment upgrades, flooring, ceilings, athletic track and playground resurfacing, and painting will be out for bids in fall 2012.”

    The district also initiated a Student Engagement Program. Seven students have interned with various firms under the leadership and guidance of CayCe. Each student is required to apply for the position and interview with SLPS operations’ staff that does the initial vetting. The students short listed will then go through a second round of interviews with the firm that has selected them.

    The eight-week program begins the first Monday following the student’s last day of school.

    “I encourage each student to look at this as more than just a job. Here is the opportunity to set the path for your future career,” CayCe said.

    “Hold your head-up, speak clearly, follow the dress code established at the company, learn about the trade and be assertive. Anything less than a stellar performance will cost you your job, now and in the future. It’s time for them to learn about the importance of having a career.”

    The internship will continue through the end of this project.      

    In August  2010, voters in the City of St. Louis approved a $155 million bond issue, Proposition S, to acquire, construct, renovate, repair, improve, furnish and equip school sites, buildings and related facilities in St. Louis Public Schools. The goal of the bond referendum is to improve the learning environment for teachers and students.