Campus Construction Update, February 15, 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 am joined as I am so often joined by Matt Dull. Hello, Mr. Matt Dull.
Matt Dull: Hello. Hello. How are you, Dave?
Dave Blanks: I'm doing great. I hope you're doing well.
Matt Dull: I am doing well.
Dave Blanks: You had some exciting news to share.
Matt Dull: Yeah, sure. I was just looking back through all of my ... I keep all my notes in the same folder, and I was looking back through them and I noticed that this week, at least the week that we're recording the podcast, is our two-year anniversary of the podcast. We've been doing this for two years now, which is kinda hard to believe.
Dave Blanks: That's wild! I can't believe it. Two years of us chatting it up about all the ongoing construction.
Matt Dull: All the exciting things.
Dave Blanks: I know! All the milestones we've passed. Do you pass a milestone? I don't know what you do with a milestone.
Matt Dull: I guess so, at some point. Milestones must literally be a stone that marks a mile. I don't know.
Dave Blanks: That's true. I guess you pass them. You recognize them. You take note of them.
Matt Dull: Acknowledge them.
Dave Blanks: Yes. All the milestones we've acknowledged and the ribbons we've cut. We've cut some ribbons through this time. Not you and I, personally, but ribbons have been cut. Buildings have been finished. More buildings are in progress right now. And we're talking about them today.
Matt Dull: That's right.
Dave Blanks: Here's to two more years! How much more? How much more do we have, Matt?
Matt Dull: Well, maybe, probably a little less than that, because we will have, I guess it will be fall of 2022, we'll have kind of our last building opened up and then we'll have a few little last bit touches like parking lots and that kind of stuff and paving after that. So yeah, really, probably just a year and a half left on this project, which is kind of hard to believe. We're already on the shorter side of this.
Dave Blanks: That is wild and crazy. After that we can just do comedy routine kind of stuff and sketch comedy if you're down for that.
Matt Dull: That's right.
Dave Blanks: All right. So, but today we do have updates. What do we want to start with on this fine day, Mr. Matt Dull?
Matt Dull: Yeah, we'll start with Laurel Creek Hall or Building 300. We said last week that the building is dried in now and has that temporary heat throughout the building. So, that's really going to let us really start moving things pretty quickly inside of the building. So, we've moved pretty quickly. It's going now through hanging Sheetrock, and we have really moved all the way down on that east wing that's closest to Trivette Hall. We have been working on Sheetrock. We've basically done all the levels except for that terraced level. So, levels one through five are fully Sheetrocked in the units and in the hallways. It really is shaping up to kind of really look like what the building's going to look like now that you've got all the studs covered up. So, drywall has really made its way all the way through, and then we're starting primer paint now. We have already done the fifth floor. This week we are moving down to the fourth floor of putting a coat of primer on everything. We are also pouring Gyp-Crete, which is a kind of like lightweight concrete material we're using inside the units. We use a lightweight concrete in the corridors. The top floor, kind of its final coating of the flooring. And we have now moved on to the level four and pouring Gyp-Crete and lightweight concrete this week.
Dave Blanks: Gyp-Crete?
Matt Dull: Gyp-Crete.
Dave Blanks: Is that like gypsum?
Matt Dull: Yeah. It is a gypsum product that I believe is combined — I don't know the exact chemistry of it — but I think it is combined with a lightweight concrete. You know, after all these years, I've never really thought about exactly what's in Gyp-Crete.
Dave Blanks: What does it cover?
Matt Dull: So, it would cover your subfloor. It's kind of like a self-leveling ... I mean, it's almost like concrete that helps create a nice level layer before you go in and put your actual finished floor, which in this building is an LVT floor. It's a luxury vinyl tile floor that's a faux-wood kind of look. We've seen it in a lot of buildings on campus. It's really popular, kind of all over the place now is that kind of faux-wood look that is really just a vinyl tile that is adhered to that Gyp-Crete or lightweight concrete surface. So, it adds a little more durability to it. It adds a little more structure to when you put those down, that won't move quite as much as wood would move as you have changes in humidity and temperatures in the building. We've got the subfloor that's already done in all those buildings and we are now going back and putting in Gyp-Crete in the rooms. We're using a lightweight concrete down the corridors. After that, when they start doing the finish work in the rooms and in the corridors, then we'll put in the LVT or we've got a ceramic tile and the restroom areas, because there's a lot more water in those areas and you need a little bit more protection than just an LVT. And then we've got carpet in the corridors, which helps cut down on some of the noise as people are walking through the halls. You know, that LVT in the room is fine, but you don't want to hear every conversation and everything that's going on in the hallways. So there are more softer surfaces in those corridors. It's carpet in those corridors. That just helps cut down on the noise for students.
Dave Blanks: That floor covering does make a huge difference.
Matt Dull: Yeah, for sure. Especially in these larger buildings, right? There's just a lot of people that are living on these floors. Some of the floors in Laurel Creek, for example, the common floor, the kind of standard floor has close to if not over 100 people on a floor. So, I mean, this is a big building. It's 650-some beds in that one building. You know, having that carpet is going to really help cut down on some of the noise of just the normal traffic there.
Dave Blanks: Absolutely. Where else do you want to go today, Matt?
Matt Dull: As we're kind of moving down the east wing and the Trivette side of the building, we're now starting to kind of do the final pre-punch. So, before we start doing all this finishing work, making sure everything is ready in the corridor and in the units, you know, making sure your electrical outlets are in the right place, your faucets, or the plumbing rough-ins are in the right place before you start putting in your countertops and all the things that then make it just more onerous to go back and correct. We don't want go and do all this finish work if the electrical outlet is not in the right place or at the right height, or if the plumbing is not roughed in to the right location, you don't want to go and start putting in your actual plumbing fixtures or your countertops and say, "Oops, we accidentally were off by about 3 feet or whatever. Now we need to actually take all that out and tear out the wall and move the ..." You know? So, this is, right now, starting on that top floor in that east wing, is doing that kind of initial punch list of those units and of the hallways, making sure everything's to specifications before they start really working in finish work. And once they kind of get started with the finish work, it's about an eight-week time frame from start to finish. So, you know, within eight weeks or so, that top floor of the east wing will be totally ready to kind of do almost a final punch. So carpet is all going to be in, all your LVT, your ceramic tile, your plumbing fixtures, your shower curtains ... I mean, everything except for the furniture, basically, at that point should be move-in ready about eight weeks after we start the finish work. So, mid-April, about eight weeks from now, we'll be able to actually kind of have whole floors that are finished and ready for a final kind of look through to make sure they're move-in ready. So, that'll be exciting to start seeing those finish up. And then we'll just kind of go almost week by week from April, May, June as we finish up the whole building. Yeah. It's going to be pretty exciting to see whole floors finished at a time and ready to kind of move on to the next floor.
Dave Blanks: Fantastic. Yeah, that sounds good.
Matt Dull: I guess one other thing, masonry work is continuing and that'll just be kind of a continual theme, like framing was for us. So, masonry is finishing up on the street side of the building over here in the next two weeks or so, and then they'll move over to the courtyard. So, that really wraps up kind of the activities for Laurel Creek for the next few weeks.
Dave Blanks: Cool. So, is it New River Hall? Yeah. How's progress over there?
Matt Dull: Progress is doing well. Sorry, I've got my script pulled up on my computer today and it is way too small of a font to try to read.
Dave Blanks: You're going to need to reconfigure that.
Matt Dull: Sorry, if you heard a click or two there. I'm like, I cannot read.
Dave Blanks: Just get your magnetic or your magnifying rectangle and hold it up to the screen that you carry with you.
Matt Dull: I'm afraid I'm getting close to the bifocals phase in life.
Dave Blanks: Oh, man. I know I've had moments where I couldn't read the back a package and it was horrifying, but you just take a picture of it with your cell phone and zoom in.
Matt Dull: That is definitely what I need to start doing.
Matt Dull: So, yeah. So lots of stuff going on again. Dave, we talked about it before, you know, you drive by the site every day and it probably still looks like a lot of dirt just being moved around.
Dave Blanks: Yep!
Matt Dull: But we're, hopefully here in the next few weeks, you'll start to see a little bit more coming out of the ground there. So, this week we're trying to finish up a lot of our stormwater system. So, all of the underground utilities that carry stormwater from other parts of campus into our stormwater retention system. We've talked a little bit about that. We've started that. We've got a few more weeks on fabricating that, probably around six or seven more weeks fabricating that entire system and getting it all tied in to the other stormwater systems. That'll continue. That's that underground stormwater system we've talked about a couple of times. We're kind of going in with footing sections and then kind of following some wall footing sections, and also building some load-bearing concrete walls. We are just really moving from section to section to section of the building.
Matt Dull: We'll probably be again doing a lot of pouring concrete. We will be doing everything from, you know, pouring your elevator pits, kind of the recessed areas at the bottom of the elevator. Those are going in now. Again, some of the load-bearing kind of concrete walls or wall footings are going in. We are waterproofing. So those kind of activities will just kind of continue over the next probably four or five weeks.
Dave Blanks: How about the steam line?
Matt Dull: We've got a vault we have to kind of create, which is kind of the connection point for the steam line of where it connects to the building. You kind of pick up the steam line from campus and actually it's a transition place where it actually then goes into the building. So we're in the process now of, like this week ahead, we'll be finishing up the walls to that steam vault and then forming the top of the steam vault and installing the manhole risers and the manhole and waterproofing the walls of that steam vault.
Matt Dull: The vault itself, which is one of the more ... I don't want to say complicated parts, but it's really one of the most time-intensive parts of the steam line. That will wrap up here probably in the next two weeks. I'd say by the end of February, that vault will be done. That will allow us to start doing more of the mechanical or the plumbing work that takes place with installing that steam line. So, that is moving forward. You know, while we're also going in and putting these concrete walls and wall footings in, we also have to go ahead and put in those sleeves for electrical and plumbing. So it's basically like a reinforced hole in the wall that will allow you to move your electrical lines and plumbing kind of between sections of the building.
Matt Dull: We've got to put in plumbing and electrical sleeves, too, at the same time as we're putting these walls sections in. So, that that will kind of be a continual theme. It's going to be pouring wall sections, pouring wall footings, waterproofing those sections, putting in electrical and plumbing sleeves. That'll be kind of a continual theme here for the next probably six or seven weeks as we get the foundation work up the hill or up towards Gardner and Coltrane and get all of the the wall footings in for the building.
Dave Blanks: It's an important part of it. So take your time and do it right.
Matt Dull: Not a lot opportunity to go back and redo that once you move on from that.
Dave Blanks: Exactly. Well, Matt, anything else for today?
Matt Dull: I think that that hits the highlights.
Dave Blanks: Hey, happy two-year anniversary, sir!
Matt Dull: Happy two-year anniversary to you. I look forward to another year and a half, and then our slapstick comedy routine that we're going to be doing here in 2022.
Dave Blanks: Exactly. Exactly. I created a Google Drive folder, all right? I'm already putting some ideas in there, so I hope you'll add some too. All right. Well Matt, thanks a lot, man. I'll talk to you later.
Matt Dull: All right. Thanks, Dave.