Recently I obtained the contract for the construction of Stucky Middle School for USD 259, the Wichita public school district. Something I observed is that Schaefer Johnson Cox Frey Architecture was not the architect. Instead, it was Gossen Livingston Associates, Inc.
Gossen Livingston was one of the hosts for the kickoff of the “Yes For Kids” pro-bond campaign in August. Was this firm inspired by a sense of civic duty and concern for the children of Wichita? Or by the prospect of earning architectural fees?
Something I also noticed in this contract was the naming of an “owner’s representative.” I spoke to a person heavily involved in commercial construction, and he said it’s not unusual for there to be an owner’s representative. They’re often called “project manager,” and that’s the role they play. He did say it’s a little unusual for an architectural firm to serve in this role.
What’s not unusual, though, is the identity of the architectural firm serving as owner’s representative: none other than Schaefer Johnson Cox Frey Architecture. This firm is heavily involved in promoting the current bond issue. They stand to earn millions in fees if the bond issue passes. Now we know they earn not only as architects, but also as owner’s representatives.