La Prensa – Sunday July 26, 2015
Jasmine Azima has one word when describing her projects— legacy.
Jasmine Azima started Jasmine Engineering in December 1984 while she was in her 20s, becoming one of the first women owned engineering firms in Texas.
Since then, the company has worked on over 680 projects totaling over $15 billion dollars. These projects include: the Alamodome, San Antonio Convention Center, San Antonio International Airport, Nelson Wolff Stadium, San Antonio Police Department Training Center, Harlandale Independent School District (ISD) bond projects, the University of Texas, Texas A&M University and more.
Jasmine Azima won entrepreneur of the year in 1991 by Ernst and Young. In 2012, Jasmine Engineering also won an award from the San Antonio Business Journal for Best Municipal Project for the City of San Antonio Public Safety Headquarters, a LEED certified building.
Jasmine identifies with the struggles of the Harlandale ISD community to educate their children amid traditionally financial hardship.
“Growing up I wanted to make a difference in the lives of children, and build lasting structures that would give them a suitable environment for learning,” said Jasmine Azima. “I am passionate about getting results and helping Harlandale ISD, so they can provide more for their students.”
Since 2007, Jasmine Engineering has been the lead bond project manager for the Harlandale ISD. During their tenure, these projects have had a realized savings of over $10.6 million dollars. Jasmine has helped save more than their fee to the Harlandale ISD. Overall, the company has managed over $90 million dollars in projects for the school district, which includes Bond 2006, Bond 2009, part of current Bond 2015, and a needs assessment for bond 2015 for Caroll Bell Elementary and Vestal Elementary.
In a letter of recommendation, Harlandale ISD’s Superintendent Rey Madrigal stated, “The financial savings that have been saved have far exceeded the amount of cost for the services that have been provided by Jasmine Engineering, Inc. Financial savings is crucial in meeting the needs of students, and Jasmine Engineering, Inc. has helped this District put children first by providing some services pro bono.”
Initially hired as the Total Building Commissioning Authority for the 2006 HISD bond, Jasmine Engineering served as a project manager at zero percent for the district due to a projected shortage of monies for those services, saving taxpayers over a million dollars.
On Bond 2006, Jasmine charged two percent for programming and two percent for commissioning, for a total of four percent. Jasmine’s rates for the 2009 bond were two percent for programming, two percent for project management, and two percent for building commissioning.
A recent audit of all Harlandale ISD’s projects with Jasmine Engineering showed Jasmine’s total compensation through completion of services is 5.4 percent. The percentage is the result of Jasmine providing the project management on Bond 2006 for free, which lowered the overall average percentage, for all three services of facility programming, total building commissioning and project management.
This is far below the industry average and is in contrast to San Antonio ISD’s bond, which paid three percent for just project management services, which is only one of the three services Jasmine Engineering, provides Harlandale ISD.
Jasmine Engineering has been mindful of Harlandale ISD taxpayers. Harlandale ISD has enjoyed no schedule delays, no cost overruns, no change orders for mistakes and errors and all projects have been on time and in or under budget. Harlandale ISD has not had to reduce project sizes or eliminate any projects that were promised due to inaccurate budgets. All of Jasmine’s projects from design to completed construction average less than two years.
Other school districts in the San Antonio area have had less success than Harlandale ISD. According to an article in the Express News by Brian Chasnoff, dated April 15, 2015, reporting on the 2010 SAISD bond, the school district experienced many delays and cost overruns, pushing the school district to add $5.3 million dollars to the budget. On April 5, 2009 reporting for the Boerne- Star, Richard Serna reported that Northeast ISD’s Lady Bird High School finished $22 million over budget, Edgewood ISD’s two new elementary schools finished $4 million over budget, and North side’s Brandeis High School finished more than $12 million over budget.
Jasmine Engineering’s projects for the bond 2006 & 2009 programs included numerous added value benefits that were not originally envisioned. These include: covered drop-off areas for students, safer parking areas, new front entrance at Kingsborough Middle School, new entrance and canopy at Terrell Wells Middle School, two band halls and two field houses at Harlandale High School (HHS) & McCollum High School (MHS); softball field (MHS) and baseball field (HHS), Kingsborough Middle School nurse clinic, and renovation of spirit and training rooms (MHS & HHS). All projects are designed based on energy efficiency and the band halls and field houses in both high schools are designed Collaborative High Performance Schools (CHPS). These features are beyond what the Harlandale ISD community was promised.
As part of current bond 2015 projects, Jasmine Engineering is finishing the STEM Early College High School, two Health Science technology buildings at McCollum and Harlandale ISD High Schools, as well as, an Auto Technology shop at MHS, plus a district wide security system for 36 buildings. Jasmine Engineering has also completed facility needs assessments on Carol Bell and Vestal ES as part of bond 2015. Bond 2015 would also pay for repair costs to Gillette Elementary School from a previous 1998 bond managed prior to Jasmine’s involvement; the project was designed by Vitetta Architects and Project Management provided by Louis Cruz Architects.
On top of saving the district millions of dollars, Jasmine Engineering has fundraised and contributed over $47,000 to organizations that directly benefit Harlandale ISD students. “We hope to continue our good work and cost savings for the Harlandale Community. Giving back, and helping the children of Harlandale ISD, has always been my priority and part of the legacy I hope to leave behind” said Jasmine Azima.