Early Childhood Center K-12 Additions/Remodeling K-12 Additions/Remodeling Middle/High School Addition/Renovation High School Renovations High School Addition/Renovation High School Addition/Renovation K-12/Admin Additions/Renovations High School Performing Arts Center Fort Madison High School Addition and Renovation Aldo Leopold Intermediate School Early Childhood Center K-12 Additions/Remodeling K-12 Additions/Remodeling Middle/High School Addition/Renovation High School Renovations High School Addition/Renovation High School Addition/Renovation K-12/Admin Additions/Renovations High School Performing Arts Center Fort Madison High School Addition and Renovation Aldo Leopold Intermediate School

Education Construction Management & School Facilities Assessment

Your role as educators 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 of Operations
Chris Smith, Vice President / Education 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 have the experience to guide the efforts of the 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

We provide construction management agency 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 K-12 construction management clients in Iowa.


<b>Click the cover image to open the e-brochure.</b>
Click the cover image to open the e-brochure.

Our Education Brochure

Carl A. Nelson & Company publishes brochures in several market segments where we work, including one highlighting Educational construction management projects. 


Why Choose Construction Management?

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 Knowledge Base section of our website to learn more about construction project delivery methods:

Understanding Construction Project Delivery

Construction Management Agency

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


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 other locations around Iowa in the role of construction management agency.

Sioux Center Community School District — Sioux Center, Iowa

Aerial footage provides project progress update

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.


College Community School District — Cedar Rapids, Iowa

OPN Architects rendering; Provided by College CSD
OPN Architects rendering; Provided by College CSD

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 pre-construction. Completion is projected for 2022.

As a result of its performance on pre-construction for the new intermediate school, Carl A. Nelson & Company was selected by College CSD for a second construction management contract — one for a $19.5 million renovation of Prairie Creek Intermediate School that will convert the building for use as a ninth-grade attendance center. That project is in pre-construction, with completion projected in 2025.

“Due to the size and scope of the project, as well as the number of construction projects going on in the District, we felt that using a construction manager would give us better oversight on this project as well as potential cost savings. The construction manager is solely a representative for the owner which differs from a general contractor.”

— College CSD Chief Financial Officer Angie Morrison


Clients attest to our Construction Management efforts


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.


In this brief testimonial video, Shenandoah Community School District Superintendent Dr. Kerri Nelson discusses the benefits of engaging Carl A. Nelson & Company as construction manager on a project that resulted in a multi-million dollar renovation of Shenandoah High School. Visit our YouTube channel for the full-length video, which also addresses project history and our project team. 

Read more about the project, and see a collection of before-and-after photos, in CANCO News.


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 trio of testimonials from other past and ongoing projects:

"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

via KSOU 93.9 FM

"... it is without hesitation to recommend Carl A. Nelson & Company as a construction management firm for a school district project."

— Fred McElwee, former director of auxiliary services,
Fairfield, 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


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.


Project Portfolio