By Dale Kopnitsky, executive vice president and general manager of Skanska’s building operations in Washington D.C.

This week Skanska achieved a significant milestone – the ribbon cutting ceremony at the Harriet E. Tubman Elementary School in Gaithersburg, Md. While every project is important, this one was particularly meaningful because of its namesake, the people who built it, and the teachers and students who will grow and learn here.

Named for abolitionist and civil activist Harriet Tubman who worked along the Underground Railroad to free 70 enslaved people, this is the only school in Maryland, her home state, to bear her name. It is a remarkable space where our next leaders will be educated.
People build schools. In fact, more than 1,000 people worked more than 200,000 hours to deliver the school. This included the staff at Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS), the designer SEI, Skanska and more than 120 subcontractors. I should also note that more than $6 million was awarded to minority subcontractors. 

Teachers dedicate their lives to educating our children. The Skanska team can be proud that we delivered a remarkable facility where both students and teachers can excel. 

Next week a new school year begins and the school buses in Montgomery County will deliver 400 students to the new Harriet E. Tubman Elementary School. It is exciting to think about the young men and women who will thrive in this new facility.

Members from Skanska USA Building (left to right): Juan Torres, Grant Cox, Bill Lemley, Darick Edmond, Brian Kleinschmidt, Bianca Pasikhani, Kishan Kamath, Valerie Forconi, Dale Kopnitsky.

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