Campus Construction Update, January 25, 2021
Give this all-new Campus Construction Update a listen to learn the latest updates on App State's construction projects across campus. In this episode, Associate Vice Chancellor for Finance and Operations Matt Dull chats with University Communications' Dave Blanks about the construction progress for Laurel Creek Residence Hall, as well as the early building stages of New River Hall, located on the site of the former Justice Hall.
Dave Blanks: Hey folks, this is Dave Blanks from University Communications back once again with a Campus Construction Update, and I'm joined by Matt Dull. What's up, Matt? How are you, sir?
Matt Dull: Hey! Hey! I'm good. How are you doing?
Dave Blanks: I'm doing pretty well. Pretty well. Ready for some updates.
Matt Dull: All right. Well, there are a few updates this week and probably one of the most significant updates is that for Building 300, which is Laurel Creek Hall, the framing is complete. So we're done with framing work. I know that's been kind of a consistent update for probably three or four months now. The roofing is substantially complete. Windows are complete and the east and west wings of the building, and now moving in and focusing in on that last, kind of, central core north wing, but windows really should be complete this week, hopefully, and then really expecting to really have a dried in building this week. So, that means the framing's done; the windows are in; the Tyvek is on; the roofing is done. So we've got a few storefront systems, that's that kind of the larger scale kind of windows that are kind of in the little study nooks and common spaces in the building. Some of those will be going in now. Some of those will actually be going in later, because we'll be using those spaces to be able to continue to move drywall and other kind of larger materials in and out of the building so you're not having to do that kind of through the stairwells of the building. So some of those spaces will be kind of final installation later in the project, once a lot of the larger materials are in the spaces, but for the most part, buildings will be substantially dried in hopefully this week so that we can really, again, just focus on all the finishing work in the interior spaces. We reached another important milestone last week — hit a hundred thousand person work hours for that building.
Dave Blanks: We celebrated, I mean, we didn't, I guess celebrate, like there weren't decorations or hors d'oeuvres, but I remember mentioning another milestone of worker hours, but I can't remember what it was. We ... how many was that?
Matt Dull: I don't know. So, the hundred thousand is just with Laurel Creek Hall. You know, we certainly surpassed a hundred thousand work hours in buildings ... in Raven Rocks and Thunder Hill. Probably at about the same time, you know, when we were moving from kind of the framing and drying in activities to the interior work, we probably hit about a hundred thousand over there as well.
Dave Blanks: Wow! Look, I've exposed the fact that math and estimating is not my strong suit, OK? Because it sounded like a really enormous number for the entire project, for every building. I was like, wow! A hundred thousand hours. But no, no, that's just for Laurel Creek. Wow.
Matt Dull: Yeah.
Dave Blanks: Son of a gun.
Matt Dull: Yeah, son of a gun.
Dave Blanks: That's a lot of work. That's a lot of work on all these buildings. It shows. A lot of progress, too. Yeah. Well, if it's all dried in, what are they doing in there?
Matt Dull: Really there's kind of two activities, right? You got interior and exterior activities happening. On the exterior of the building, now that we're dried in, and actually they've been working on it for a month or so now, is the exterior masonry work. So that continues really, focusing in on the east wing of the building and getting that precast stone and the brick installed on the east side of the building. That crew will continue just to really move around the building. I guess it's not a counterclockwise motion. So they're doing the east wing, that's the side closest to Trivette Hall. Next they'll really focus in on the north and west wings, kind of on the side of the building. That's the street side of the building, kind of that's facing Newland Hall, and Wey Hall, and the new parking deck and Frank and Belk, that side of the building will be next.
Matt Dull: And then they'll finish up kind of in April on the courtyard side of the building. So they'll wrap around the corner that faces Raven Rocks Hall and then work their way into the courtyard. And then by the end of April, that should all be finished. So all that masonry work on the exterior of the building. So there's that external work that still has to happen now that we're dried in. And then the interior work, we're really moving to finish up the plumbing and mechanical and electrical rough-ins. We're moving towards substantial completion throughout the whole building for those rough-ins in the next two weeks. We're also moving into a phase where we're installing the insulation throughout the building. And really, again, starting on the east wing, the side closest to Trivette, and then working through the rest of the building, moving towards the side of the building that's over towards Eggers and Bowie. So insulation is being installed, and that's kind of tough to say — installation, insulation. So that's happening, here, over the next few weeks.
Dave Blanks: Hey, what kind of installation is it? Is it, like, are they spraying it in? Is it that kind of stuff? Like small cell sprayed insulation, or is it like rolls?
Matt Dull: It is mostly batt insulation. So that rolls of ...
Dave Blanks: The Pink Panther stuff.
Matt Dull: Similar to the Pink Panther stuff that you see. Yeah, exactly. That's most of it. There are some spaces that have a spray-on application. Really, it just depends on the cavity, kind of the spaces that you're filling and what the fire rating needs to be. And then also kind of, is it interior to the building or is an exterior wall to the building? The fire rating needed for that particular cavity will determine the type of insulation you're using, the kind of the method. And also just the accessibility of that space. There's always certain spaces that really kind of that spray insulation is really the best way to insulate the space and not create these open cavities in the building. If you don't have a rated cavity for the fire rating. So, it's a little mixture of both. The majority, particularly between the units, between the units and the hallways, is like a bat insulation. And then there are some other application types, you know. On the roof, there's actually a rigid insulation that goes on the roof deck that you put on first, before you put on the roof membrane. So there's a variety of insulation applications throughout the building.
Dave Blanks: Are you talking about like the foam boards? Gotcha. But batt is mostly what we're using that code. I know I'm like derailing us, but you know, what we haven't talked about in a while is the sustainability certification.
Matt Dull: Yeah, like the foam board, like a rigid insulation when you're putting that on that roof deck, foam board is usually used for that.
Dave Blanks: Gotcha. But batt is mostly what we're using. I know I'm like derailing us, but you know what we haven't talked about in a while is the sustainability certification.
Matt Dull: Oh yeah. The Green Built Certification.
Dave Blanks: Right, Green Built certification. Yeah, we haven't mentioned that in a long time, and I would assume that that factors into the insulation.
Matt Dull: Absolutely. So with the Green Built Certification, we have an external evaluator, kind of like an inspector for kind of our sustainable practices in the building. They have to come in and review the insulation and how it was installed. Was it to specs? You know, when you're designing the building and you're defining the specifications for the materials used and where they're used, you actually do energy calculations to make sure that the energy has a minimum amount of efficiency to be able to get that Green Built Certification. Particularly now that we're installing insulation and getting ready to cover up that insulation with drywall, now's the time that the inspector comes in to review all of that to make sure everything is to spec. So the specifications we've laid out, which creates a certain level of energy efficiency, are actually installed correctly in the field. And so he has been out several times already, and then he will continue to come out as kind of right before we encapsulate all that insulation with drywall. He has to come out, review, take pictures, take field notes, write up a report and just making sure that we've actually followed the plans and specs for all of that insulation so that he can document and verify that we are at that certain level of energy efficiency in the project. So he's been out a couple of times already. He'll continue to come out as we move toward hanging drywall over the next couple of months.
Dave Blanks: Good to hear. Yeah, we just hadn't mentioned the certification in a while, so I thought I would bring it up. What else, Matt? Where else do you want to go today?
Matt Dull: That really kind of closes out Laurel Creek. We are just really moving into that phase of finishing the rough-ins, finishing the framing, dried in building. Now we can do the insulation. Now we're getting ready to hang drywall as it's inspected. So, that kind of wraps up Laurel Creek. Moving over to New River Hall, what was called Building 400 ... we talked a couple of weeks ago that the, you know, we're really moving towards the site work, getting the grading done, kind of that rough grading done throughout the site. A lot of soil is being removed because we need to make room for that underground stormwater retention system, because we got to make room for our foundations and you're able to work with the topography, right? That building kind of works its way up the hillside there. But you do have to remove a good amount of the fill that's there to be able to make nice level planes for your building to go into, and we're currently removing soil.
Matt Dull: The next steps will be starting that stormwater retention system, installing our underground utilities. And then we'll start footings here in the next week or so. We're getting the site work completed so that we can start putting in the foundations for the buildings. And that starts with those footings and some load-bearing kind of walls that are footing walls, if you will, that will be really never seen after they're installed, hopefully. So that's really the next activities that take place on-site after this, kind of the grading work is done, after the site utilities are installed. The next kind of phase, which really starts now, is that stormwater retention system and the footings for the building are going in next.
Dave Blanks: How deep down to the footings go? Is that a weird question?
Matt Dull: Oh, man. What a great question.
Dave Blanks: They gotta go deep, right?
Matt Dull: Oh, man. We actually talked about it just a few weeks ago, and now I'm trying to ...
Dave Blanks: I'm putting you on the spot.
Matt Dull: Yeah, I know. You're putting me on the spot ... at where the deepest foundations were.
Dave Blanks: Matt, I'm trying to get to the bottom of this.
Matt Dull: Everyone's really wanting to know this, I'm sure.
Dave Blanks: Everybody! I've gotten a lot of messages, OK. There've been a lot of people hitting me up. They've been tweeting at me. I don't know. You don't have to answer that. I was just curious. That'll be our cliffhanger for next time.
Matt Dull: That's right. I'm looking at my notes and I don't see them, but I know we talked about it. But it's pretty significant depths of some of these footings. So yeah ... sorry, I guess I just didn't type that in my notes from our last meeting, when I was kind of, we were kind of actually talking about that exact topic.
Dave Blanks: That'll be what people tune back in for. All right. That's why they'll listen the next time. Anything else you want to cover today, Matt?
Matt Dull: I think that hits the highlights. Again, progress, you know, still making good progress on Laurel Creek Hall and on schedule there and on budget and on schedule for Building 400. And New River Hall, lots going on here. Again, folks, if you're driving by, you're really seeing probably just dirt being moved around and you may be starting to see some of the concrete trucks coming in, but really probably can't see what they're actually doing because they're really working on the foundations and some of that deep stormwater system, but you'll start to really see stuff coming out of the ground here as we enter into the month of February.
Dave Blanks: You know, I can tell a contour change as I've gone up and down Stadium. I'm like, whoa, that's really starting to look different. It does work with the topography, but also they are flattening out some sections. So they'll have a good spot to put this building.
Matt Dull: Yeah! And then, you know, from Rivers Street, as you're driving down Rivers Street, you can really start to see much more of the site from the street.
Dave Blanks: Yes.
Matt Dull: Because, you know, before it's kind of like you had almost like a ...
Dave Blanks: Like a burm?
Matt Dull: Yeah, burm might be the best way to say that. That really kind of blocked some of the view for now, when you're looking at it from the street, you can really see all the way up to Gardner/Coltrane. It's like a really clear view now that's ... yeah, as they're taking off a lot of that fill and hauling it off, you can really see a lot of the site now from Rivers Street. So, we're seeing some real progress there and folks will really start to see progress as we enter into February, and some of the footings and site walls will start going in for the building.
Dave Blanks: Matt, thank you for your time today.
Matt Dull: Absolutely, glad to share some updates.
Dave Blanks: All right, we'll do it again.
Matt Dull: Sounds good. Thanks, Dave.