Prior to that, construction trainees engaged in a five-week module rooted in mathematics, tools of the trade and safety, including a 10-hour OSHA class for which they received certification. When not learning to operate nail guns and power saws, participants were preparing measurements for floor and wall assemblies, or for trapezoids and other complex shapes, says DTI instructor Ernest Willis.

Following course work in drawings and documents, trainees advance to a six-week module involving actual assemblies. "We'll have them working on residential framing, including decks, walls and wall openings," says Willis. From there, Chicago Urban League and Hispanic American Construction Industry Association will work to place carpenters with union shops.

After completing instruction last fall, more than 20 DTI project trainees were engaged to perform site work for Malcolm X, a project proceeding at a hectic pace to meet its winter 2016 opening, in time for spring semester.

Hyman is taking the pace in stride. "Did I mention I work for Mayor Rahm Emanuel?" she jokes.

Crews "fast-tracked the site work in order to give ourselves a five- to six-month running start on utilities and the like," says Jim McLean, project manager with CM Jacobs Project Management Co., which joined the project in summer 2012 to perform preconstruction services during programming and schematics. Thereafter, once construction documents were complete, Jacobs was selected as construction manager. "The arrangement allowed us to get going while City Colleges determined how it wanted to deliver the project, says McLean.

The project eventually was bid to a general contractor, a joint venture of Clark Construction Group, McKissack & McKissack Midwest Inc. and Old Veteran Construction Inc.

"You could say we opted for a modified design-bid-build in which some sequential steps overlapped," says Sanders. "It was the most efficient means of maintaining our schedule while costing the project as design work proceeded."

Cannon and Jacobs had a narrow window to complete programing and schematics, from late summer of 2012 to late winter of 2013. "We were on the aggressive end of anything I've been involved in for a campus of this magnitude," says McLean.

The challenges, he says, are the project's myriad moving parts. In late summer and early fall of 2012, Cannon led a series of four "vision workshops" that allowed students and industry partners to assist in programming the facility in conjunction with faculty members, support staff and members of CCC's management team. Among other exercises, "we asked students to envision the life of a fictitious peer ... who lived at home, had three or four siblings and a parent or parents who both worked," says Jankowski. As discussions progressed, Cannon also learned that issues such as child care and meal preparation prevented consistent attendance on campus.

In addition to bricks and mortar, stakeholders concluded College to Careers would succeed only if it were built on a foundation of wellness, life-family integration, experimental learning, personalized learning and teaching support services.