Campus Construction Update, Apr. 22, 2019
Assistant Vice Chancellor for Finance and Operations Matt Dull shares updates concerning construction projects on Appalachian's campus, including building progress for the parking deck at the site of former Winkler Hall, as well as the design process for building 300 and details on the replacement of the west campus steam line loop.
Dave Blanks: Hey, folks. I'm Dave Blanks from University Communications, and we're back once again with another Campus Construction Update. And I'm joined by Matt Dull. Thanks, Matt, for being here.
Matt Dull: Hey, Dave. Yeah. Thanks.
Dave Blanks: I'm glad you're here. So, I always start out by talking about the hard-hitting topic of the weather, unpredictable as it may be.
Matt Dull: It is spring in Boone, and it is really hard not to be happy about it. It is just beautiful. Flowers are coming out on campus. Thousands of students everywhere, out trying to spend as much time soaking up the sun. It is a great time of year on campus.
Dave Blanks: Some structures are shaping up. I've been by the site. I've seen it.
Matt Dull: Yeah, absolutely. In the past week and a half or so, they've really been working on the parking deck, specifically, and it's really actually starting to take shape. That's pretty exciting to see.
Dave Blanks: Yes. It looks downright building-like.
Matt Dull: It actually looks like a building now.
Dave Blanks: I know! It's exciting!
Matt Dull: So, not just moving dirt around anymore, working on foundation things. The foundation's in, and they're really ... We've got just a significant amount of work going on over there. I guess I can go ahead and start with the updates.
Dave Blanks: Yeah. You want to do that?
Matt Dull: Yeah. Let's do some updates.
Dave Blanks: OK, cool.
Matt Dull: For the parking deck, about a week and a half ago, we began erecting the parking deck. Those prefabricated panels we talked about before, being manufactured down in South Carolina, those are being brought up the mountain on the back of semitrucks. If you've been over on west campus, you'll really notice that around 10 or 12 of these precast panels are driving up Stadium Drive and entering the construction site every day.
Dave Blanks: Right.
Matt Dull: A lot of action going on. So thankful for everyone's patience that is either parking over on west campus or living over on west campus, for the additional truck traffic that's happening over the past couple of weeks. Just really, thank you for everyone that lives on that side of campus or is on that side of campus regularly, for just allowing us to take a few extra minutes of your day to allow that truck traffic in and out.
Matt Dull: We want to make sure that's done safely, so we are having flaggers throughout the construction site, and also on Stadium Drive when those trucks come in, and stopping traffic for a few minutes to let those trucks enter the construction site safely. I really appreciate everyone's patience as those trucks are coming onto site.
Dave Blanks: It hasn't been too bad. I commute over Stadium. I go over that way to come to and from work. Yeah, I've gotten delayed a little bit, but it'll be worth it in the end.
Matt Dull: Yeah. It's a short time period when we're doing this kind of constant traffic, bringing those prefab panels in. After this, we'll be back into normal construction traffic that may be one or two times a day, instead of 10 or 12 times a day like we have right now.
Dave Blanks: Got you.
Matt Dull: So, thanks again for everyone's patience in navigating that. It'll hopefully pay off by having the parking deck finished by this August, so that students have a place to park, and also have places for people to park once fall football season starts. This is part of that process of building that parking deck and getting additional parking on campus.
Dave Blanks: What else you got, Matt?
Matt Dull: Like I said, they've been really taking advantage of this good weather that we've seen recently. That prefab parking deck, every day you go over there, it's like a new whole section of the parking deck is done.
Matt Dull: It's pretty exciting to see when they put those panels in. They bring the panel in on a back of a semitrailer, and immediately lift it off the trailer with a crane and put it right onto the structure where it needs to go. Once those structures get into place, they go in and they weld the pieces together, as well as actually grout every little groove by hand.
Dave Blanks: Wow.
Matt Dull: It's a well-oiled machine. I've been on the site a couple times since they've started. It's just amazing how professional and just how everyone knows exactly what they're supposed to do as they're laying these little Lego pieces together. It's been really fun. The kid in me that loved playing with Legos has really enjoyed watching this come together.
Matt Dull: If you are on campus and have a few minutes, you may want to just pop over, maybe up where Eggers is, or where Frank and Belk are, and just kind of look on the other side of the fence and take a look at it. It's really fun to watch, really exciting to watch. It's been a fun project to see moving forward so quickly.
Dave Blanks: Have they let you drive the crane yet, Matt?
Matt Dull: No. I'm pretty sure you have to have some type of specialized license or certification to do that. Unfortunately, I have not done that yet.
Dave Blanks: You know, you need to grow. You could put that on your LinkedIn, when you get your crane certification.
Matt Dull: That'll be on my LinkedIn profile. Look for that in 2020.
Dave Blanks: I'd be really proud of you. We'll put that in the possibility list.
Matt Dull: That's right.
Dave Blanks: Yeah.
Matt Dull: But we have a really professional team over there, and folks that do this every day. It's been exciting to see how fast and efficient they've been on the project so far.
Dave Blanks: Really great progress.
Matt Dull: Yeah.
Dave Blanks: What else?
Matt Dull: We talked about in the past couple of weeks, with building 100 and 200, we're continuing to do a lot of site work over there. Building 100, specifically, we have about six week's worth of work on installing inclusion piers. That's the rigid foundation for the building that will be driven into the ground to be able to support the structure of building 100. We're working on that over the next five or six weeks or so.
Matt Dull: Then building 200, we're actually now forming and pouring foundations for the building as well. We're also working on structural walls. Some parts of the building actually have the structural retaining walls that the building sits on, so —
Dave Blanks: I did see that. Yeah.
Matt Dull: Yeah. So those are coming up. We're forming those walls right now. You're actually starting to see some structures come out of the ground, which is really exciting over on building 200.
Matt Dull: Then also, continue to do a lot of work on the site. So pouring concrete on retaining walls throughout the site, and also continuing to do a lot of those utility installations that are under the ground. Things like storm water, and domestic water, and sanitary sewer, and all those things, will continue throughout the duration of the project. Really, before we start putting in all of the buildings, we have to do all of the infrastructure under the ground to really support those buildings.
Dave Blanks: That's involved with the other company coordinating with them, the north end zone project.
Matt Dull: That is ... it's actually involved, not only with DPR, who's doing the north end zone project. For example, they're putting in a storm water utility that we have to actually be ready to accept. They're making changes on their end of Jack Branch, and we actually have to make changes on our end to be able to accept that storm water and have it flow through the housing site as well. We have to work together closely.
Matt Dull: We also have that steam line that's going in, that's parallel to Jack Branch, right on the side of, basically, where building 100 and 200 are.
Dave Blanks: Now is that —
Matt Dull: We're having to coordinate with them as well.
Dave Blanks: Is that replacing an old steam line, isn't that what I understood?
Matt Dull: Yeah. We are replacing an aging and failing steam line loop, really, that loops the whole west campus over there. That whole residential core that supports not only our residence halls, but supports the athletics complex, that will support the end zone project, that supports Quinn Center, as well as Trivette Dining Hall.
Dave Blanks: Very vital piece of infrastructure.
Matt Dull: Very vital piece of infrastructure. That steam line helps not only with hot water in the building, so the domestic water that when you turn the tap, that hot water comes actually from a centralized steam plan on campus.
Dave Blanks: OK, yeah.
Matt Dull: But also helps heat the building. We use that steam to actually heat up the water that then flows through our HVAC systems to heat the air that's in the building. We're using it in multiple ways. It's a really efficient way to heat buildings and also heat the water that comes out of the faucets in the building. That's really vital to, not just this housing project and not just to the end zone project, but also to dining facilities on campus and recreation facilities as well.
Dave Blanks: Right. Any building you wanted to have heated, or hot water —
Matt Dull: Or hot water in, we've got to have the steam line. Really vital to replace this, so we've really worked this. We're working with another contractor, a third contractor and a third designer to really finish that steam line. That's all happening at the same time as both the housing project and the end zone project.
Dave Blanks: Yeah, there's a lot going on over there, for sure.
Matt Dull: A lot going on over there. Lots of coordination between the different contractors and designers. We've got, I think, the right people on board.
Dave Blanks: Absolutely. Other updates?
Matt Dull: Really, just a quick update. Building 300, we talked about a few weeks ago on the podcast.
Dave Blanks: The planning of it.
Matt Dull: Starting the planning of building 300. It's hard to think about. We're still just getting started on building 100, 200. But we also have to plan what are we going to do next, and keep working on the future phases.
Matt Dull: The university's now reviewing those initial schematic designs for building 300. We're making sure that the initial plans include all of the required bedrooms we need, bathrooms, kitchens, common spaces, storage closets, utility closets, spaces for janitorial closets. All of the spaces that are necessary to operate those buildings, make sure that they're at least in the initial plans. That's what we're doing right now.
Matt Dull: It's an exciting process. It's a hands-on process with a variety of staff at Appalachian. To do this, our project manager, who's over in our Design and Construction Office, Ted LeJeune, he's meeting with a variety of these different stakeholders to review these initial plans. He's meeting with our res-life staff, our maintenance staff, housekeeping, our support services staff, electrical, HVAC, plumbing — all of the different people that may eventually touch this building, and may eventually have to maintain or operate the building.
Dave Blanks: Not a unilateral operation.
Matt Dull: No, it's not like one person or like —
Dave Blanks: Matt, here, we'll do it this way.
Matt Dull: — me sitting up there with a big red pen and saying what —
Dave Blanks: It's not, Matt?
Matt Dull: It's not. We've got a huge team of folks that look at these plans, at multiple parts of the planning process. We're now in the early stages. Ted's actually doing 11 different meetings with stakeholders this week and next week to help, basically, make sure all these stakeholders and anyone that needs to have a say in the building's design to review the plans and make recommendations on the design back to our architects and their consultants.
Matt Dull: It is process where we have a lot of people involved early in the process and then throughout the design process to make sure that the university gets the product that we really need, and the product that we can actually operate and maintain for the life of the building.
Dave Blanks: That's great, getting everybody at the table there at the start of it, so you don't have somebody having to deal with a problem later and they're like, "Well, my voice wasn't heard."
Matt Dull: Yeah, absolutely. That's really important, beacause it's important to do that early. We need to make sure that not only from a budget perspective, but making sure that we can operate the building successfully for the life of the buildings. That's really important.
Matt Dull: The university's going to be operating these buildings and managing these buildings every day. We need to make sure that we have the program or the facilities in these buildings that can best support operating and maintaining the buildings for the life of the building.
Dave Blanks: Anything else, Matt?
Matt Dull: I think that's most of the updates for this week. Just, again, doing a lot of site work on the building, 100 and 200. Get it ready to begin construction and framing of the actual building. Continuing to erect the parking deck with all of these prefabricated panels. Then really starting our planning for phase two, with planning what building 300 is going to look like.
Dave Blanks: Fantastic. Well, Matt Dull, thank you so much for your time, as always. We will see you next week for another Campus Construction Update.
Matt Dull: Absolutely. Thanks, Dave.