Easterseals NH, John A. Samenfeld Center

Cornerstone demonstrates its dedication to build excellence and safety



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Renovation projects can sometimes present challenges that require creative solutions. The recent $3 million renovation of Easterseals NH’s newly renamed John A. Samenfeld Center necessitated just that kind of approach.

Led by Cornerstone PDC, LLC, of Manchester, the 10-month long project meant working in an occupied building open to clients, workers and the public. As Easterseals NH’s headquarters, the 60,000-square-foot building at 555 Auburn St. offers core programming for a wide range of clients, including child and family resource centers, autism services, substance abuse treatment, senior services, military and veteran services, workforce development and oral health services, among others.

“At one point we were working in the dental practice, cutting open floors, doing heavy mechanical work,” says Cornerstone President Roland Martin. “We had adult day care on one side, child day care on another side, the main entry in front of us — which had to be maintained — and administrative functions on the other side of us. We had to keep safety protocols in place for our own people but for everyone else around us as well.”

Easterseals NH acquired the building in the early 1980s, and it remained somewhat unchanged since that time. The multi-phase project began in December of 2016, and wrapped up in September — on-time and under budget. The building renovation project came to fruition as part of the $2.6 million Big Ideas for Building Independence Capital Campaign, part of Easterseals NH’s 80th anniversary celebration.

The renovation included new and renovated classrooms in the child day care center, improvements to workforce development, military and veterans and autism services, and constructing a new five-operatory Oral Health Center, sponsored by Northeast Delta Dental. The project also touched upon virtually every element of the organization, from the reception and administration areas to restrooms, boardrooms, training areas and even the main entrance.

“In addition to the customary parts and pieces of a renovation project like this, there were some unique challenges with the MEP scope, including construction of a new heating and cooling loop around the building. That was necessitated by the old loop being part of the fire sprinkler system,” Martin says. “It was an interesting anomaly to deal with.”

“It was a team effort. There were some changes, but Easterseals gave us direction, then let us do our job. We had a great team on this project including SMP Architecture, Longchamps Electric, Hampshire Fire Protection, All Temp HVAC and Stibler Associates for the interior design — there were a lot of good contractors on the project. It really was a total team effort.”

Cornerstone upgraded the entire building with green, high-efficiency mechanical and electrical systems, from lighting and VFD controls on mechanical systems to HVAC systems using energy-efficient Wi-Fi-based controls.  The fire alarm system was also upgraded to meet current codes.

Due to the nature of Easterseals’ programming, certain tasks needed to be done after hours, to allow them to continue to provide uninterrupted services to their clients, Martin says. In the case of the child daycare center upgrades, children would be relocated to another completed classroom while work was taking place in their original room.

“There were a lot of stakeholders and smaller moves built within each larger phase,” Martin says. “The entire Easterseals management team and facilities staff truly helped us by making quick decisions to keep the schedule on track and they worked tirelessly shuffling people and departments from one part of the building to another for the better part of a year. The relationship was excellent and they were a great owner to work with.

“The whole of Easterseals itself, everybody there, they’re a joy to work with. They provide so many valuable services to the communities we live in, and while they take their work very seriously, you can’t help but notice how much they love what they do. Even when it came into the construction process — they’re as accommodating as any owner I’ve ever worked with.”

The project was completed in September, allowing Easterseals to better serve its more than 25,000 clients.

“We are so thrilled with the renovation project recently completed by Cornerstone,” Easterseals CFO Elin Treanor says. “From beginning to end, our expectations were exceeded in every way, thanks to the great partnership with Roland Martin and the Cornerstone team. Cornerstone’s dedication to service excellence and managing costs is exceptional. We are grateful for the relationship and outstanding job.”

Manchester-based Cornerstone PDC, LLC is a full-service construction firm specializing in commercial, industrial and institutional projects. Founded in 2001, Cornerstone offers project planning, construction management and design-build services.

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