Campus Construction Update, February 24, 2020
Associate Vice Chancellor for Finance and Operations Matt Dull chats with University Communications' Dave Blanks concerning progress on Appalachian's new residence halls and shares the official names for the halls on this exciting 30th episode.
Dave Blanks: Hey folks, I'm Dave Blanks from University Communications. Joined once again for the ... how many times?
Matt Dull: This is time 30.
Dave Blanks: The 30th time! What do we do? Should we do a giveaway for the listeners?
Matt Dull: That's right!
Dave Blanks: Some kind of, of reflective thing with real emotional music.
Matt Dull: That's right. The hundredth caller today ...
Dave Blanks: Right! You get, you receive, I don't know, a high-five, a hardy high-five from Matt Dull. No, this is our 30th Campus Construction Update. And as I said, here's Matt Dull. Hello, Matt Dull.
Matt Dull: Hey, hey!
Dave Blanks: Thanks for coming by.
Matt Dull: Absolutely.
Dave Blanks: Thirty times. When did we start?
Matt Dull: Oh, that's a great question.
Dave Blanks: I don't know.
Matt Dull: I don't remember.
Dave Blanks: I could look, you could look back. What's the site where you can find all these conversations if you want to reminisce?
Matt Dull: That's right. That'd be appstate.edu/future. And Dave and I were talking right before the podcast that there's now, when you go to that page, you click the building our campus infrastructure link, and it gives you kind of a link of different projects on campus. One of those is that residence hall project. If you click that, there's now a whole separate page that's got all the information in one page. All of our past podcasts, some additional pictures. So we're trying to try to give a little bit more than just kind of a paragraph introduction to the project.
Dave Blanks: Very cool! Let's do some updates, Matt. Let's do what we do.
Matt Dull: Let's do what we do.
Dave Blanks: It's snowing outside.
Matt Dull: It is snowing outside today.
Dave Blanks: As we record this, which is like the week, the Friday before the folks will hear it. Should we say that?
Matt Dull: We'll let the secret out. In honor of the 30th episode.
Dave Blanks: Is that like a secret? The secret is that we're not doing the podcast you're listening to live. OK, that's the secret.
Matt Dull: So don't call in.
Dave Blanks: Yeah, you can't. You can. Here's Matt's number. Yeah, it's snowing. So, this is like the first substantial snow that the construction folks have had to deal with, I would say. Right?
Matt Dull: Yeah. I mean the, I think the first that wouldn't really have any standing snow accumulation ... right.
Dave Blanks: Yeah. My kids were happy, but I'm sure the construction folks were not.
Matt Dull: Yeah, well, you know, actually, you know, just talking with them, I think they almost prefer, like, the colder days, you know, rather than just the cold, wet rain.
Dave Blanks: That's what we were saying last time.
Matt Dull: Also, you know, when it does get, you know, below that 30, you know, the ground is pretty solid. You're not having all the mud and muck that you'd have trying to move equipment around ...
Dave Blanks: Oh, that is nice.
Matt Dull: ... on the exterior of the building, so it's a little nicer there. We've got, again, some temporary heating in the building right now, so that's keeping the interior fairly warm. So yeah, you know, it's, I think folks would prefer a little bit cooler and dry weather rather than just kind of that miserable 40s and raining.
Dave Blanks: I'll take it too. Yeah, because 40s and raining, like, you can't go outside and do anything. Like my kids, my kids are like, "Why? Why can't we go?" And I'm like, "It's horrible out there." But yesterday, I was like, "Yeah, let's go!" Well, it wasn't exactly like that. I was like, "Oh gosh, you guys wanna?"
Matt Dull: "Yeah! Y'all go!"
Dave Blanks: "Play! Have fun! Yeah, make a snowman." OK, I'll come make a snowman. So the construction guys ... not making snowmen,
Matt Dull: Not making snowmen.
Dave Blanks: But they're in the buildings.
Matt Dull: They are in the buildings.
Dave Blanks: Working.
Matt Dull: Working.
Dave Blanks: So you want to start with 100. Anything new with 100?
Matt Dull: Sure. I mean a lot of the updates for 100, 200 — very similar from past podcasts. Again, really moving forward on production drywall. That's really the press in both buildings right now. If you think about the interior of the building, all the insulation is in and all of your rough-in electrical and plumbing and mechanical is done, so now we're really just trying to knock out drywall down the corridors and down into each of their rooms, starting on the top floor right now of Building 200 working our way down. So really just trying to get drywall up throughout the building. That's kind of a next critical path step in both buildings. Building 100, again, still, you know, in most of the building we are dried in, we're doing drywall work right now. That center section, that second section, the one that's kind of directly across from Gardner/Coltrane — high roof is on, the roof was on, the roof membrane is going on right now. That building has Tyvec, and windows will start coming in to go into that center section. That center section is pretty close to being dried in here in the next couple of weeks.
Dave Blanks: Looks great!
Matt Dull: Yeah, so really we'll have two fully dried in buildings here, hopefully within the next two weeks or so. So kind of that first week of March. Then it's just kinda moving forward as quick as possible on all the interior work that needs to be done and finish work inside. A lot of masonry work going on. We have around 40 or 50 folks on site every day doing masonry work on the two buildings. We're trying to get brick totally knocked down on Building 200 as soon as possible, so that those crews can move over to Building 100 as it gets dried in to really finish out Building 100 masonry work. So, lots going on on site still. Again, some of these updates feel a little repetitive, but things are really moving along between the two buildings.
Dave Blanks: It's just good to hear that progress is being made and everything is on schedule.
Matt Dull: Yeah, yeah. It's great to great to be on schedule, and such a great team, all-around, working on the project. So it's just fun.
Dave Blanks: It's just my sinister plot to hang out with you every week. OK? That's what is happening here. What about 300? Are we ready to move to 300?
Matt Dull: So, phase two, Building 300. We just closed on phase two on February the 13th. There's an Appalachian Today news story with a picture of the closing signing with the chancellor and the folks from RISE, that's about to go out on the web right now. So folks can see that online. We had a financial close on February the 13th. That's when we're kind of, we're signing all the final documents to get the project going to lease the ground to get the contractor under contract and just all the little details that you need to, you know, secure all the, the funding for the project. This second phase is a $63.9 million phase, so that includes Building 300, which is 640 beds and a mix of suite- and apartment-style housing. So, it's a good bit larger than even Building 100 ... 640 beds, a mix of suite- and apartment-style, some nice common space in the bottom floor. It's kind of a mix of study rooms and multipurpose rooms throughout the building for students that live in the building. So we are excited about having that on. It's also replacing an existing water main that goes down Stadium Heights Drive, replacing an existing steam line that also goes down Stadium Heights Drive and around 47 to 50 or so parking spaces along Stadium Heights Drive, around Building 200 and Building 300, that'll open at the end of the phase. We're really finishing out the parking around the buildings. It's kinda hard to have a bunch of parking spaces in an active construction site. So, once we get, you know, the steam line done, construction done on 200 and 300, Stadium Heights Drive, that's that road after you turn off Jack Branch, you kinda turn in front of Eggers and Bowie Hall and go down to the new Stadium Parking Deck and down to Trivette Hall. That little loop of a road that used to go around the old Stadium Lot is called Stadium Heights Drive. As it wraps around Building 200, 300, there'll be pull-in parking all around those buildings ... about 47 to 50 or so spaces there, plus your handicap spaces, your ADA- accessible spaces to Building 200 and 300 will all be right there. Some new ADA spaces for Trivette Hall and Newland Hall will also be kind of part of that rework. So, it's going to help make this side of campus ... Help with accessibility for students, faculty, staff, as well as campus visitors. So really able to help address accessibility issues on that entire part of campus, which is really exciting that we get to address accessibility issues at the same time of building new buildings. It's not just buildings, it's kind of the whole zone over there, looking at making sure we have an accessible campus for students and visitors.
Dave Blanks: Definitely important. So that's all part of phase two.
Matt Dull: That's all part of phase two.
Dave Blanks: Anything else in phase two?
Matt Dull: Phase two helps really finish out that big courtyard area between kind of Building 200 and Building 300. If you remember, there's almost like a Duck Pond Field replacement in the center, and phase two will help, kind of, really finish that out. There's not a lot of that that's going to be open when we open up Building 200 because it will still be an active construction site there, but phase two will help us finish all of that quad area, if you will, that Duck Pond Field replacement. So by fall of 2021, that whole kind of, you know, Building 100, 200, 300 — all of that central, kind of green space area in the middle — will all be wrapped up at the end of phase two. Phase two also includes kind of all the finishing work to get that area tied up with a bow and ready to have students be in it and not have active construction site around those buildings.
Dave Blanks: Gotcha. I know everybody's looking forward to it. Where do you want to go next, Matt?
Matt Dull: Well, I guess just to, just to kinda close out that phase two construction began on Valentine's Day, on February the 14th. So, we already removed all the asphalt that was Stadium Parking Lot. So, now all the asphalt has been removed now. We had kept some of the asphalt there, just so when you're having ... it was our laydown area so you don't get it quite as muddy when you've got trucks parking there or have lumber loads and masonry and all sorts of stuff kind of being stacked up and stored on site rather than it just be sitting in gravel or dirt or mud for most of the year here in Boone.
Dave Blanks: Now frozen mud.
Matt Dull: Now frozen mud it was sitting on the asphalt. We didn't tear up the whole parking lot. That's, the parking lot has gone now. They're starting grading, trying to get some of the elevations correct on the site, putting in our temporary stormwater retention system that we've got to have and silt fencing and moving that construction fence. A lot of that has happened already, to date. As we get into March, we'll start doing things like our aggregate piers and geopiers ... some of Dave's favorites.
Dave Blanks: Good ol' aggregate piers!
Matt Dull: So starting kind of that first and second week of March, we'll actually have the subcontractor engaged and on site to start work on aggregate piers for Building 300. So, we are just a few weeks away from really starting foundation work for that building.
Dave Blanks: Awesome. I have two off-topic things. Is there anything else important that you want to cover today?
Matt Dull: We've got some building names.
Dave Blanks: Oh, that was one. That was one of my things!
Matt Dull: Oh, OK!
Dave Blanks: How is going to be like, all right, look, we haven't talked about this in a long time. You know what the building names are?
Matt Dull: Yes.
Dave Blanks: We buried the lead. This is important! This is the stuff!
Matt Dull: This is where we should've started. Right?
Dave Blanks: Yeah. All right, well, OK, so, do tell!
Matt Dull: Now that you're sleeping, it's time to wake up. We'll move into the building names.
Dave Blanks: Hey, aggregate piers got them going. You know they're, they're up and at 'em now.
Matt Dull: Yeah, yeah. Just wait till we get to CMU's. So, building names. Yeah, we're really excited. We've got names for our four buildings that have been submitted to the chancellor and approved by the chancellor and the Chancellor's Council. And, so we've got four buildings. Building 100 is that building right there in front of Trivette Hall and is now going to be Thunder Hill Hall.
Dave Blanks: That's cool! Thunder Hill!
Matt Dull: Like that? So Thunder Hill is that iconic scenic overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Big favorite for students, faculty and staff.
Dave Blanks: Awesome.
Matt Dull: Thunder Hill Hall is going to be 100, appropriately, at the top of the hill. So, if you walk up from Rivers Street all way up Stadium Drive to that hill, you probably feel like it's Thunder Hill that you just climbed. So, Thunder Hill Hall is Building 100. Building 200, directly across from Eggers and Bowie and from the End Zone Project is Raven Rocks Hall.
Dave Blanks: Raven Rocks is cool.
Matt Dull: Raven Rocks.
Dave Blanks: I like the alliteration.
Matt Dull: Yeah, Raven Rocks. Again, another iconic overlook and trail over on the Blue Ridge Parkway, really well known for its sunset views in the High Country. It's right before you get to Beacon Heights on the Blue Ridge Parkway as you're going north.
Dave Blanks: Awesome.
Matt Dull: Raven Rocks Hall is Building 200.
Dave Blanks: Sounds cool.
Matt Dull: Building 300 — Laurel Creek Hall. And Laurel Creek is the stream that winds kind of the backside of Beech Mountain and ends at Laurel Creek Falls as it goes right into the Watauga River, right at the Watauga River Gorge. Students may know the Laurel Creek Falls as ...
Together: Trash Can Falls.
Dave Blanks: Can't name it that.
Matt Dull: Can't name it Trash Can Falls Hall, but Laurel Creek is that, just that beautiful stream that winds down into the Watauga River right at the Watauga River Gorge. All of these sites ... we'll let's talk about Building 400. Building 400 — New River Hall.
Dave Blanks: All right. Yeah.
Matt Dull: You know the New River flows out of Blue Ridge Mountains, winds through Ashe and Watauga counties.
Dave Blanks: It's one of the oldest rivers in the world.
Matt Dull: You hear that, you know.
Dave Blanks: I think that is true.
Matt Dull: I think it's really true.
Dave Blanks: And it's funny 'cause it's called new, but it's so old.
Matt Dull: The New River is such an awesome site where you know, a lot of our students, even in the summer, warmer months go tubing and kayaking and canoeing, and it's an iconic river that goes all the way up into Virginia and West Virginia. It was designated as a National Scenic River in 1976. So, a river that we have chosen as kind of a national symbol of our country. So, really excited to have New River Hall, that would be Building 400. That's that Justice Hall replacement. Why the names? You know, we had a building naming committee, and that committee really wanted to help connect students to really scenic and natural places in the High Country. So naming buildings after some places that past students that are alumni that, you know, have fond memories of up here in the High Country and really connect our students to scenic, natural places around the High Country. And we really want to have, you know, in the lobby areas of the buildings, have some nice imagery of these places, of the overlooks to have some scenes, you know, the New River and Laurel Creek, get some really awesome photographic connectivity to the namesakes of the buildings. Have those in those lobby spaces and, and some of the you know, study nooks and lounges and try to have that name kind of connect throughout the building, as well as, even things like, in the lobby, have like directions on how to get to the places. So how do we help, especially new students coming to Boone, not knowing much about the area, you know, how do we help connect them to really special places in the High Country? And so, providing directions on how to get there, how to get to these spaces and why are these spaces even important to the High Country and then some images of the spaces.
Dave Blanks: Fantastic! Yes!
Matt Dull: So, really excited about it. Had a great small committee that was our building naming committee for these four buildings. I want to thank Dr. Andrea Burns, Dr. Karl Campbell, both faculty representatives from the Department of History. They were really amazing in helping us really kind of think about names and then relating the names to historical and scenic natural places in the High Country and help us get some context there. Dr. Shannon Jordan, who is from University Housing, she's our senior associate director for ResLife and housing. Great to have her on the group. And then two student representatives, Jared Mark, who is the president of our Residence Hall Association, a senior and he's one of our student representatives. And then Cameron Thompson, who's another student representative from our Student Government Association. He's a cabinet member this year and he was their representative on the group. And then myself and then J.J. Brown, our Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs. So, great group, kind of did several weeks of brainstorming, long, long lists of, there's probably 100 or 150 different names that we kind of thought of on the list. And then slowly started to kind of narrow those down as we thought about how we might connect students to those scenic and natural places in the High Country and got down to our top four names.
Dave Blanks: I approve of all of them completely.
Matt Dull: Yeah! So we're really excited about it. We're really excited about the names and we think students will be excited about the names as well, and we really hope it helps build some connectivity to this place.
Dave Blanks: Absolutely. Thanks, Matt. That was huge.
Matt Dull: Yeah.
Dave Blanks: This has been a momentous Campus Construction Update for our 30th special.
Matt Dull: That's right. For the 30th special.
Dave Blanks: Thank you, Matt, for coming by. I really, really appreciate it as always.
Matt Dull: Absolutely. Thanks, Dave.
Dave Blanks: We'll do it again.
Matt Dull: We'll do it again.