Early Childhood Center K-12 Additions/Remodeling K-12 Additions/Remodeling Middle/High School Addition/Renovation High School Addition/Renovation High School Addition/Renovation K-12/Admin Additions/Renovations High School Performing Arts Center Early Childhood Center K-12 Additions/Remodeling K-12 Additions/Remodeling Middle/High School Addition/Renovation High School Addition/Renovation High School Addition/Renovation K-12/Admin Additions/Renovations High School Performing Arts Center

Education Construction Management & School Facilities Assessment

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Washington, Iowa, High School
As educators, your role is to prepare young people in your community for the future. 

At Carl A. Nelson & Company, our role as your construction manager is to support that mission by delivering educational facilities that offer the best 21st-Century learning environment for students.


Chris Smith, Vice President and Healthcare Project Executive

Chris Smith,
Vice President and Institutional / Construction Management Project Executive

There are many challenges while striving to provide for the ever-changing needs of your student body. We know that developments in technology, budget and funding issues, aging school buildings, and obtaining community support through bond referendums are all concerns that affect the decisions you must make when considering a new school, building addition, or renovation.

Working as a construction management agency, we are your advocate. 

And Carl A. Nelson & Company has a proven track record of working in collaboration with owners and architects to meet aggressive schedules and satisfy spatial requirements while being stewards of your resources and goals. We guide our clients to make the best decisions during the pre-construction phase by providing value engineering and experience-driven recommendations for the major systems of your building to preserve money and time.

We work hard to encourage strong participation from local contractors and suppliers in communities where we work to support your local economy, and also to increase the pool of bidders in an effort to ensure the best-possible results on bid day. On our construction management projects for Iowa school districts, our average variance between budget estimate and actual bid is 2.2% below budget.

In addition to our construction management experience, CANCO also has a long history of delivering quality school projects to communities through the competitive bid process in the general contractor role. 

We've built schools, so we know how to guide the efforts of other contractors, and influence the work of designers and engineers, to get you the best return on your community's investment in school infrastructure.

Our Education Project Portfolio

Washington High School Performing Arts Center, Washington, Iowa
The Washington Community School District selected Carl A. Nelson & Company as its construction management agency for a new performing arts center.

We provide school construction management and general contracting services for K-12 school districts, and have built new elementary schools, intermediate schools, middle schools and high schools, performed school remodeling and built school additions, as well as building early childhood centers and performing arts centers.

Explore our Project Portfolio on this page to see examples of some of the work we have done for Education clients as construction manager or general contractor.


K-12 school construction management projects now in-progress

In addition to the featured projects that appear in our portfolio, Carl A. Nelson & Company is at work in several other locations around Iowa in the role of construction manager agent.

Sioux Center Community School District — Sioux Center, Iowa


In the northwest Iowa community of Sioux Center, we are working as construction manager of a new, 180,000 SF, $42.6 million high school building. Carl A. Nelson & Company was chosen based on qualifications in January 2019, and ground was broken in August 2019. Working with the architect, we were able to identify significant value engineering opportunities that, without compromising the district's plans or reducing project quality, brought the initial $47.2 million cost estimate back within the district's $42.6 million budget — a reduction of more than $4.5 million.

The new, two-story high school includes a sunken gymnasium with space for basketball, volleyball and wrestling, weight training and wellness activities; a main level with classrooms, team rooms, media center, learning stairs, culinary arts, band, choir, art, student services and administration. And a second story with science and lab rooms, PLC area, custodial areas, team rooms and a fashion lab. The career and technical education area will include a robotics lab, digital lab, black box multipurpose room, ag lab room, maker space lab and woods and welding classrooms.

The project, which is set for completion in the summer of 2021, was featured in a Feb. 28 radio program in Sioux Center where the superintendent praised our value engineering efforts.


Shenandoah Community School District — Shenandoah, Iowa

Remodeled classroom in Shenandoah High School


Carl A. Nelson & Company is leading construction of a $4.63 million renovation of the high school building in the southwest Iowa school district. Completion is scheduled for the start of the 2020-21 school year. The project includes remodeling of classrooms, auditorium, locker rooms, HVAC systems and family and consumer science classroom. The project also includes security improvements, including a secure entrance and secure classroom doors.


College Community School District — Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Design concept for new College CSD intermediate school


The Board of Education of the College CSD, which serves rural communities and suburbs south of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, selected Carl A. Nelson & Company as its construction manager for a new, $42 million and 180,000 SF intermediate school for students in grades five and six. The project is currently in the pre-construction phase.

As a result of its pre-construction efforts on the new intermediate school, Carl A. Nelson & Company was given the opportunity to negotiate a second construction management contract with College CSD, for a $19.5 million renovation of Prairie Creek Intermediate School.


Why Choose Construction Management?

Fairfield, Iowa, High School remodeling and addition
Carl A. Nelson & Company was construction manager for the Fairfield School District on the renovation and expansion of Fairfield High School.

In traditional design-bid-build projects, the general contractor gets little or no opportunity to review the design for issues of cost and constructability prior to the start of the work. 

That means means Owners lose the chance to take advantage of their construction professionals' experience in ways that could reduce construction cost, increase return-on-investment, save time or prevent costly or inefficient ownership and maintenance expenses. Assuming the lowest-qualified bidder on a public school project even possesses the experience or expertise to provide that valuable information. 

Construction managers, by contrast, are selected on a qualification basis, giving School Boards a better chance to get project leadership they know can trust. Once selected, the construction manager works as the Owners' agent on the project, collaborating with designers and engineers during pre-construction to ensure , preparing bid documents and overseeing the efforts of general and sub-contractors, to ensure the best-possible outcome for the Owner.

Visit the How We Work section of our website to learn more about construction project delivery methods:

• Understanding Construction Project Delivery

• Construction Management Agency


School construction management project earns hearty endorsement for CANCO

In this video, Dr. Thomas Ward, the superintendent for the Danville CSD in Danville, Iowa, speaks about the district's $8.7 million, K-12 addition and remodeling project, and the value achieved by using Carl A. Nelson & Company as construction management agency. To learn more about the project, see this story in the news section of our website.

Clients attest to our Construction Management efforts

On school construction projects where Carl A. Nelson & Company has been engaged in the role of construction management agency, school officials continue to praise our performance. Here are a few recent testimonials:


"One of the best elements CANCO brought to the table was the value engineering ... to make sure that we were going to be at budget, and hopefully come in even underneath what the budget might be."

— Gary McEldowney, superintendent, Sioux Center, Iowa, CSD


"The support of your company has been exceptional. I think of where we were a year ago this week on this project, and know that the lion's share of the progress that has been made is due to your efforts and expertise."

— Dr. Kerri Nelson, superintendent, Shenandoah, Iowa, CSD


"Their unique perspective has added value to our projects and allowed the district to get 'more bang for its bucks'."

— Mark Schneider, superintendent, Mid-Prairie CSD, Iowa


School Facility Needs Assessment, Master Planning and Pre-Bond Services

In addition to providing construction management services, Carl A. Nelson & Company also is able to act in a consultant role and bring its experience leading successful facility needs assessment and master planning processes to your school system and community. 

As construction manager agent, we are available to take part in pre-bond planning and participate in public forums to educate your community about the project plan prior to the date of your referendum. Districts where CANCO has had a consulting role in leading needs assessment and master planning efforts, or taken part in pre-bond services, include:

• Fort Madison Community School District — Fort Madison, Iowa

• Keokuk Community School District — Keokuk, Iowa

• Washington Community School District — Washington, Iowa

• Fairfield Community School District — Fairfield, Iowa

• Danville Community School District — Danville, Iowa

• Mid-Prairie Community School District — Kalona, Iowa

• Shenandoah Community School District — Shenandoah, Iowa

• IKM-Manning Community School District — Manning, Iowa


Related Services and Additional Information

Nelson Design, Inc.

On construction management agency projects, Carl A. Nelson & Company's design-assist capability relies on the experience of our project managers, engineers and field personnel to ensure the best-possible quality, cost and schedule. And those efforts are backed up by the design professionals of Nelson Design, Inc., who will assist in review of the plans and specifications prepared by your architectural and engineering partners.

Education Brochure

CANCO Education Brochure

Carl A. Nelson & Company publishes brochures in several market segments where we work, including one highlighting Educational projects. Click the cover image to open the e-brochure.


Project Portfolio

Trust us with your next school project

To contact Carl A. Nelson & Company about construction management, needs assessment or master planning services, complete the form below. Or contact CANCO Director of Business Development Dan Culp directly by calling (319) 754-8415, or writing dculp@carlanelsonco.com.

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Design-Build, Construction Management and General Contractor | Offices in Burlington, Cedar Falls and Washington, Iowa