Tarlton Transforms Hawthorn Leadership School for Girls

ST. LOUIS (Oct. 22, 2015) – Construction Team Updates Region’s First Public All-Girls STEM Charter School

Tarlton Corp., a St. Louis-based general contracting and construction management firm, completed the renovation of Hawthorn Leadership School for Girls, Missouri’s first all-girls public charter school for St. Louis City students that offers a hands-on college preparatory curriculum focused on science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Tarlton upgraded the three-story, 58,000-square-foot historic building at 1901 N. Kingshighway Blvd., which opened in 1925 as McBride High School. Work included the installation of a new elevator, kitchen and cafeteria, restroom additions, the build-out of science laboratories, plus painting, lighting and a parking lot addition. Additional work included redesigning the principal’s office area and administration offices, along with bringing the school into ADA compliance.

The Tarlton team comprised John Doerr, project executive; Joe Scarfino, project director; Diane Grimsley, project manager; Sarah Wilson Mangapora, project engineer; and James Tillman, project superintendent. Grice Group Architects was the project architect. HERA Inc. served as laboratory facilities planner.

A major challenge during the renovation was the excavation of an elevator pit in the basement of the building, an area that would not accommodate large construction equipment. Tarlton, which has provided power and energy services to the St. Louis region for nearly 70 years, charged its Power & Energy Group and HydroVac Services Division with this critical task. The team used a high-pressure mobile industrial system to vacuum wet and dry materials from the site, and then erected a clever conveyer system to transport large quantities of masonry and construction debris from the building.

Hawthorn welcomed 123 sixth-and-seventh-grade students Aug. 17. The tuition-free school will serve 500 girls in grades six through 12 by 2020 and is sponsored by Washington University, which will serve as an active partner providing hands-on assistance from WUSTL educators and students. Hawthorn is a member of Missouri Charter Public Schools Association, which provides ongoing strategic and technical support. It was founded by Mary Danforth Stillman, daughter of Missouri Sen. John Danforth and niece of Washington University Chancellor William H. Danforth. Stillman is leading the efforts to empower young women by providing a STEM curriculum in a setting that provides unique educational and leadership opportunities.

“We are excited to open Hawthorn to our first classes of students in an updated, functional building that reflects the neighborhood’s rich history and character,” said Stillman. “Tarlton’s high level of dedication to our project culminated in optimum spaces in which young women can seize opportunities for success in college and beyond, forging pathways to bright futures.”    

In furthering efforts to prepare their students for higher education and to close the gender gap in STEM careers, the school staff hosts a “Talk Show Tuesdays” series for the entire school, interviewing professionals in STEM fields. A recent guest was Tarlton’s Project Superintendent James Tillman, who discussed the different aspects of his career, as well as construction challenges encountered and met on the Hawthorn project. 

Hawthorn Leadership School for Girls adds to Tarlton’s long-standing body of work in new construction and renovation for education. The firm was recognized with one of the construction industry’s highest honors, a 2015 Alliant Build America Award, for its work on the $90 million, LEED® Gold Olin Business School Expansion (Knight Hall and Bauer Hall) at Washington University in St. Louis. Tarlton recently completed the renovations of Simon Hall, one of the largest academic buildings on the Danforth Campus and first home to the Olin Business School. Tarlton also is working on the renovation of Lafferre Hall at the University of Missouri in Columbia.