Campus Construction Update, June 24, 2019
Assistant Vice Chancellor for Finance and Operations Matt Dull shares updates concerning construction projects on Appalachian's campus.
Dave Blanks: Hey folks, this is Dave Blanks from University Communications, and we are back once again for a campus construction update, joined as always by Matt Dahl. Hey, Matt.
Matt Dull: Hey, Dave. Thanks for having me back.
Dave Blanks: Yep, thanks for coming on down. It's been about a week since we talked last.
Matt Dull: It has been about a week.
Dave Blanks: How's your week been?
Matt Dull: You know, last week was pretty good. We had a few days of pretty heavy rain, like probably about everybody in the Southeast.
Dave Blanks: Seriously.
Matt Dull: But...
Dave Blanks: I could hear it in the studio. The studio's fairly enclosed, but it's not 100% soundproof — it's an old building and it was put in after the fact. But I don't think, since I've been here — which is how many years now? Like, six years — I don't think I've ever heard rain down here.
Matt Dull: Yeah, we were almost up to four inches an hour of rain when it was at its peak.
Dave Blanks: Yeah, nuts.
Matt Dull: Yeah.
Dave Blanks: Like, damaging rain.
Matt Dull: Yeah.
Dave Blanks: So I felt bad for the construction site.
Matt Dull: Me too. We were up there a couple of the days last week and...
Dave Blanks: Pumping. They're pumping.
Matt Dull: Trying to get stuff going, yeah. Trying to get water out and trying to get new stuff in.
Dave Blanks: So, what's going on now at the site? Let's get our updates.
Matt Dull: Yeah, let's do some updates. I mean, I think for both the sites — the parking deck we talked about last week — a lot of the same things happening, it's just that finishing work. So things like elevator, the stairs, all the curb, gutter, landscaping. All those last little details that you need to open up the building.
Dave Blanks: So, that stuff can go on even with torrential rain? A lot of it.
Matt Dull: Yeah, it's mostly stuff that's interior to the building. So, a lot of the electrical. The windows are about ready to be installed, and the stairwells, and that will help dry out those areas. There's a good amount of work that can continue in the building, regardless of what the weather looks like. So, that's exciting.
Moving forward, man, it looks so good.
Dave Blanks: Yeah, if you're listening and you haven't seen it — in all likelihood you have — but if you haven't seen it, check out our site. What's the address? I never remember it off the top of my head. I should know that.
Matt Dull: It's appstate.edu/future.
Dave Blanks: Oh, okay. I thought you were giving me a hard time. "Well, it's appstate.edu, Dave." Okay, yeah, appstate.edu/future. Where are we? Oh yeah, App State.
So what else, Matt?
Matt Dull: Again, moving toward parking deck completion, August 2019, ready for that fall semester and fall football schedule. So, just super excited about having that parking option available this fall.
Building 100 and 200, things are moving along. Still a lot of site work going on, so a lot of moving of dirt. If you're just looking at it from an aerial — some of the drone footage and stuff that's also on the website — some of it does look like big piles of dirt everywhere. And it may just move from one place to the other, but a lot of the underground infrastructure's going in, especially on the Building 100 site.
Building 200's coming along really nicely. Hopefully, we'll have some pictures on the website sometime soon of where we are on Building 200. Specifically, we're in the process of forming those structural walls that'll be part of that first floor of the building? Elevator shafts, stairwells, and some of the structural steel went up this past week. And so you actually start really seeing stuff coming out of the ground, which is kind of exciting.
Dave Blanks: That is exciting.
Matt Dull: After that structural steel is installed, the next step is really starting to frame-out the rest of the building. So, hopefully in early July we'll start with the framing of Building 200.
Dave Blanks: So I know with the parking deck, a lot of that stuff was off-site fabricated. Is there a lot of that with 100 and 200, or is it just a completely different project? Different approach?
Matt Dull: Completely different building method or different approach to building it. So, most of Building 200 and 100 and 300 and 400 will actually be built on-site.
Dave Blanks: Okay.
Matt Dull: There will be some pre-fab things, like pre-fabricated trusses that are holding up the roof structure, and some structural steel, and stuff that is customized off-site and brought on-site. But the majority of the work, all the framing of the rooms and common spaces, and all of the brick veneer, and everything that's part of those buildings will be really built on-site.
So very different construction method from the pre-fab, modular-type construction you had with the parking deck, which also helped with the speed of that parking deck. Parking decks are much easier to do totally pre-fab, compared to structures where people live. You know, we've actually done modular construction on campus, in a residence hall.
So, Mountaineer Hall on campus was done as a modular. So each room was its own little, almost like a little trailer — it came on the back of a semi-truck and was craned and put in place around a central structure, and then brick veneer was put on.
Dave Blanks: Interesting.
Matt Dull: All the systems were kind of connected, but the whole building, except for a few of the common spaces, was all built off-site and then brought here.
Dave Blanks: I didn't know that.
Matt Dull: So, there are a lot of different building methods we've used on campus. But for Buildings 100, 200, 300, and 400, the majority of that will be built right here on campus, with workers here throughout the year working on that project.
Dave Blanks: Where are the workers from?
Matt Dull: Oh man, all over the place. So, obviously there's local companies involved and local workers involved.
Dave Blanks: You're talking electricians and masons?
Matt Dull: Yeah, like people that are doing the grating work. You know, JWB Hampton is the sub-contractor doing that kind of work, and they're a local company and have done a lot of work on campus. There's a variety of different sub-contractors that are getting labor from the local area. And then there's people coming all the way up, companies that are all the way from Atlanta and Charlotte, and all over the Southeast that are really helping deliver this project on time.
Dave Blanks: I was just thinking, you would have to do that. Because, yes, it's great to employ people locally, but sometimes it's hard to find people to get to a job. And when you're working on a time table like that...
Matt Dull: Yeah, and it's a large job. So when we think about moving to where we're actually framing these buildings, so that's actually putting the individual room unit structures together, and all the exterior of the building. All that, all the framing work that's going to be done, that's probably between 200 and 300 people on-site, every day doing that work.
Dave Blanks: Yeah, huge.
Matt Dull: So that requires a pretty large network of skilled laborers that can actually be here on campus every day, and working on the project every single day. And it's just going to take a lot more than maybe what the labor market in Boone is going to be able to supply.
Dave Blanks: Certainly, yeah.
Matt Dull: And you have to balance that with all of the other projects that are going on, not just on campus but in town, and then in this area. We've got the End Zone project going on literally right across the street, across Jack Branch road from the housing project. And you've got a couple other small apartment buildings being built across town.
So all of those need this same pool of skilled labor, and Boone does not necessarily ... there's just no way that the local community can support all of those at the same time.
Dave Blanks: Huge employer though.
Matt Dull: Yeah.
Dave Blanks: Yeah, interesting. What else, Matt?
Matt Dull: So, again, a lot of things really starting to come out of the ground at Building 200. Finishing up a lot of the footings and foundations for Building 100. It's those site-utility installations, so large sections of stormwater drainage system and all that coming in. So, just, again, not huge changes from week-to-week here for a little bit, until you really start to see stuff come up out of the ground. But still, the teams over there are working as hard as they can to keep on schedule with all of the rain that we've been having.
Dave Blanks: Yeah, I mean, even though there isn't any crazy, like, "Oh, this huge structure here has been added." Just to know that they are maintaining and staying on their schedule, despite the rain, I feel like it's worth us talking about it for that reason.
Matt Dull: Yeah, absolutely. And Choate's done a great job having people on-site every day, regardless of what the weather's going to look like that day, to really just kind of keep thing moving forward.
Dave Blanks: I see him out there.
Matt Dull: Yeah, it's amazing, of just how much work has been done to date.
Dave Blanks: Matt, we're talking about all these people being employed, you're talking about hundreds and hundreds of people on-site every day.
Matt Dull: Yeah, absolutely.
Dave Blanks: So, I understand we had a bit of an achievement here recently.
Matt Dull: Yeah, we just hit 50,000 man-hours toward the project.
Dave Blanks: Wow.
Matt Dull: So, if you think about, really, starting the parking deck with just a handful of people back in the fall semester to where we are today, to hit 50,000 hours already.
Dave Blanks: That's incredible.
Matt Dull: Yeah, it's incredible. And it's only going to continue to grow as we bring in, again, as we're starting to frame-up Building 100 and 200, that number of people on-site every day is only going to continue to grow.
Dave Blanks: Well, if there's anything I can do about the rain, I'll do it. I'll try.
Matt Dull: Yeah, if any of our listeners have a thought on...
Dave Blanks: Yeah, you got any ideas?
Matt Dull: Yeah, send Dave an email.
Dave Blanks: A dome. We'll have a huge geodesic dome over the site. Temporary dome, we'll get rid of it.
Matt Dull: That's right.
Dave Blanks: Biodegradable dome. Bio-dome. Wasn't that like a Paulie Shore movie?
Matt Dull: Yeah.
Dave Blanks: All right, we've totally derailed. If you do, we were going to mention it, folks, if you do want to see recent pictures of the site, check out appstate.edu/future. The Future Site.
So, if you do have questions pertaining to the building, or anything about construction on campus, feel free to weigh in on Facebook. You can reach out to us on Facebook and we'll see your message. We do a good job of maintaining the Facebook lines of communication.
Matt Dull: Yeah, and we love reading comments and questions, and that helps us and helps inform the podcast so that we are answering questions people have on Facebook, or comments people have. That really helps us figure out what we're going to talk about each week, or things we want to update people on.
Dave Blanks: Yeah, and we appreciate y'all listening, thanks.
Matt Dull: Yeah, thanks.
Dave Blanks: We do. Thank you, Matt, for coming by.
Matt Dull: Absolutely.
Dave Blanks: We'll do it again next week.
Matt Dull: Sounds good.
Dave Blanks: All right, man.
Matt Dull: Thanks.