Princeton University, located in Princeton, New Jersey, was founded in 1746 and is the fourth-oldest higher education institution in the United States. The private Ivy League school educates nearly 8,500 graduate and undergraduate students each semester. Princeton has a strategic priority to expand its undergrad population. To accomplish this goal, it recognized the need to renovate its buildings to increase capacity.
Watchdog was engaged for project management services to reconfigure multiple buildings and relocate staff to new offices off school grounds. The team provided staff augmentation services to support the campus facilities department and provided scope, budget, schedule, and an overview of project alternatives.
Given the established University standards and processes, the team worked closely with the University’s Office of Capital Projects to prioritize specific projects. Watchdog assisted with presentations to multiple committees to receive authorization to proceed on each project.
Watchdog was also able to provide comprehensive schedule development, incorporating construction activities for numerous projects and detailing move plans for relocations. The team facilitated in-depth design reviews with focused meetings for each department, including information technology and security.
The team’s first project converted an office on-campus to 26 dormitory rooms, adding 46 beds to meet the student housing needs. During phase one of this project, Watchdog worked closely with the construction manager to address the complex logistics. This process involved building a temporary office environment for the Office of Human Resources and Office of Advancement. Once that space was ready, staff was relocated to this swing space, and renovations were performed to convert the offices to a dormitory.
This was a time-critical project since students were assigned move-in dates before the start of the fall semester. The team monitored the general contractor’s productivity. When necessary, it brought in additional trade crews to ensure the summer deadline for substantial completion was met.
Phase two of the project occurred the following summer. It involved updating the shower rooms for the gender-inclusive dorms so the same facility could be used by any student without regard to their gender. Another aspect of phase two was relocating the staff from the temporary space created in phase one to a 68,000-square foot off-campus office for permanent use. This relocation was scheduled for the summer to minimize the impact on each department’s annual events and internal functions. The team coordinated all activities involved with the relocations of both offices, as well as all renovation work.
The school was occupied when phase one and phase two construction activities were in progress, so student and staff safety was critical. The team coordinated with university departments, campus facilities, and multiple construction teams to reduce operations and student life disruption throughout the projects.
Watchdog continues to provide coordination support as an engrained resource for Princeton’s ongoing renovation projects. The team remains flexible to the needs of each project and manages various aspects of design and construction, including furniture planning and logistics coordination.