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A Grand Undertaking: Rich Geishart of Superior Drywall Talks Scope, Success on ClarkDietrich’s SFIA Award-Winning Grand Junction High School Project

Submitted by Jenny Hull on

Located in Grand Junction, Colorado, the Grand Junction High School project, which recently won a 2023 Industry Project Award from the Steel Framing Industry Association (SFIA), was a massive undertaking, featuring over 150 tons of cold-formed steel curtain wall framing, four miles of interior walls framed with ProSTUD® and MaxTrak® Slotted Deflection Tracks, nearly 2,000 pieces of Danback, and one mile of 093 control joint. Not to mention the impressive, cantilevered façade designed by ClarkDietrich Engineering Services.

A project like this requires collaboration among architects, engineers, and contractors. Making this project’s enormous vision—and build—come to fruition was Superior Drywall, Inc. We recently sat down with Rich Geishart, Project Manager at Superior Drywall, to better understand what made this project a success.


CD: What differentiated this project from others?

Rich: Really, the highlight of the project was the scale of it. Your average high school is probably around 100,000 to 120,000 square feet. This one was double that. We've got a 240,000-square-foot new school that we started in April 2023. To put it in perspective, we had 16 acres of drywall installed over the steel framing, and a mile of control joint. We had seven skids of Danback on that job—we’ve been really steering toward the Danback, that is a great product. 

The volume of work that was put in is something I've never seen. I can't tell you how many trucks we were getting at the start. The schedule was crazy—it seemed unachievable—but we are on track for the May 20, 2024 completion date. It's going as well as could be expected for a project this size.

What challenges did you face throughout this project? How did you overcome them?

The No. 1 challenge for anybody right now is having the appropriate manpower to meet the schedule. Most people in the construction industry know how difficult it is to find good, qualified help. So that was probably the biggest challenge we had, but I had a lot of support from our onsite superintendent and great people in the field to help overcome that challenge. 

Probably the most complex part of the project itself was the exterior framing that ClarkDietrich engineered. We spent a lot of time with ClarkDietrich engineers to come up with solutions to problems that arose in the field. That was the great part about having Jennifer and Tammy from ClarkDietrich Engineering Services onboard, because when we needed something, they jumped. There were a lot of photos and back-and-forth—it was fun to see.

What made this project a success?

When we talk about how a job like this is successful, it's all about the people. I always give credit to the field superintendent—Randy Pokorzynski—and our general contractor. Our ability to work with them and work through schedule issues, timing issues—if you don't have that, it could be a problem. Randy and I worked closely throughout front-end planning, and Jennifer and Randy had a lot of communication throughout the project. Pioneer Materials, our supplier, played a big role too. They did a great job for us. 

Hats off to the people who do the work; those are the ones that make it happen. I just make sure it's all documented.

What was your experience like working with ClarkDietrich products and the CD team on this project?

It was great. That team—Jennifer and Tammy—they're the go-to team for me, and they have been for years. Whether they give us preference or push us up in line, I don't know, but we feel like that. It’s our goal to use ClarkDietrich Engineering Services on every project because of the exceptional service they provide.

MORE: The Grand Junction High School project was the “Curtain Wall Project” winner in SFIA’s 2023 Industry Project Awards, which focus on cold-formed steel manufacturing and construction. Read more here.