Campus Construction Update, July 15, 2019
Assistant Vice Chancellor for Finance and Operations Matt Dull shares updates concerning construction projects on Appalachian's campus, including the finishing touches for the new parking deck, slated for completion mid-August, and the construction progress for building 100.
Dave Blanks: Hey, folks. This is Dave Blanks from University Communications and I have Matt Dull with me. Hey, Matt.
Matt Dull: Hey, Dave.
Dave Blanks: Well welcome back. Glad you could make it through the monsoon rain for when we recorded this.
Matt Dull: Yeah, no kidding, yeah. It was pouring there for a few minutes.
Dave Blanks: People were ducking for cover. I was coming back from lunch and people were screaming and running like Godzilla was walking through campus or something.
Matt Dull: It's duck weather though.
Dave Blanks: Is that what it is?
Matt Dull: Yeah, I think the ducks are loving this [crosstalk 00:00:27].
Dave Blanks: Oh, they're super happy about it, yeah.
Matt Dull: You know they love the water.
Dave Blanks: Yeah, it's true. So do we have any updates on campus construction, Matt Dull?
Matt Dull: On something relevant to this podcast?
Dave Blanks: Maybe, well I mean ducks, Duck Pond, Duck Pond Field.
Matt Dull: Duck Pond Field, that's right.
Dave Blanks: There's a building there. Is that the connection?
Matt Dull: Yeah, that's the connection.
Dave Blanks: OK, any updates on west side construction?
Matt Dull: Yeah of course, so things are moving. We've actually had pretty decent weather the past few weeks. The occasional afternoon shower, but been able to do a lot of work over there. Let's start with maybe building 100.
Dave Blanks: OK.
Matt Dull: Why not?
Dave Blanks: All right, let's do it.
Matt Dull: I think we normally start with the parking deck.
Dave Blanks: Makes sense.
Matt Dull: Let's just do building 100 first.
Dave Blanks: Let's throw caution to the wind.
Matt Dull: That's right. So building 100, again that's that building on the corner of Stadium Drive and Jack Branch Drive and Trivette, kind of in that old site of Duck Pond Field. They're still doing two sections, really three sections of that building at a time, so the upper section, the part that's closest to Jack Branch, we're a little bit farther along on that section. So pour in slabs and foundation walls on that part of the building. Then as you work your way down the hill towards Trivette Hall, we're finishing up those rigid inclusion piers.
Dave Blanks: Ah, yes.
Matt Dull: Also starting work on footings on the rest of that building footprint as you go down towards Trivette Hall. Already starting and getting to that next phase of doing the foundation work for building 100, which is exciting.
Dave Blanks: Cool.
Matt Dull: Exciting to have that going.
Dave Blanks: It's three tiers, is that what you said?
Matt Dull: Yeah, it's really ...
Dave Blanks: I'm trying to picture how that works.
Matt Dull: It's three different tiers. There's quite an elevation change if you think about going up Stadium Drive. People usually like to have windows in the place that they live.
Dave Blanks: Absolutely.
Matt Dull: Instead of having to create all of these large retaining walls and big open spaces to get some light into those, we're building up the hill so there's what they're calling a terrace level, which is the same elevation or same level as Trivette Hall. Then, as you walk up, that's the first floor; there'll be an entrance onto the first floor from Stadium Drive. That's going to be the main lobby of the residence hall, so the bottom terrace floor is really just some office space. The main first floor, which would come off of Stadium Drive, is more of our res life offices as well as the common space, and then also actually gives you access to the courtyard. You can actually walk through the middle of the building and go right into the center courtyard, which will be the new Duck Pond Field area. That'll be on that same level as Stadium. That actually goes up one more level to where you get up to the same elevation or grade of Jack Branch Road.
Dave Blanks: OK.
Matt Dull: It stairsteps its way up that hill and again, rather than trying to create a lot of these below grade living quarters that people weren't going to be super excited about living in, we actually just stair step it up there so all of our apartments, suites that are in these buildings have natural light and you can actually see out of the windows and you're not staring at the back of a retaining wall.
Dave Blanks: Cool. That's pretty cool. I think students will be excited about that.
Matt Dull: Ideal. Yeah, so that building 100 stairsteps up into three elevations and that top elevation is the farthest along —poured slabs, pouring foundation walls right now. That'll start framing first and we work down the hill doing a lot of the piers and footings and that kind of thing for the bottom two levels of that. Still lots going on over there. We're starting to come out of the ground right now with our stair towers, the cinder block stair towers are coming up now for building 100 in the next week or two, starting with a lot of the underground electrical work this week. We'll move over to underground plumbing work next week, so continuing on schedule to be able to open building 100 for the fall of 2020.
Dave Blanks: I saw they've blocked off a big section of Stadium.
Matt Dull: Yeah.
Dave Blanks: And you're looping around and you got a little off-road.
Matt Dull: A little off-road experience is part of Stadium Drive right now.
Dave Blanks: Exactly.
Matt Dull: Yeah, so for the next few weeks, we're closing down one lane of Stadium Drive at a time, and that's really actually more part of the steam line replacement that we're doing at the same time. We're doing a steam line replacement this summer, and that is adjacent to the housing project. That steam line replacement is now crossing Stadium Drive, started about two weeks ago, will go for another week or two, across Stadium Drive to get that steam line under the road and then back up behind Gardner Coltrane. Trying to get that part of the project out of the way and patched up before students start coming back in the middle of August and before we start having things like Fan Fest and August 10th I think is Fan Fest. All of those fall events start happening as soon as you get to the middle of August. Trying to avoid as many interruptions to Stadium Drive. Do that now while we have a whole lot less traffic up and down that road, so that it's all finished up and patched up by the time that students come back in August.
Dave Blanks: Makes sense. Well, it's an enjoyable little excursion going off-road there for a second.
Matt Dull: Yeah.
Dave Blanks: I've enjoyed it.
Matt Dull: Absolutely, and they staged that little ... there's little stand-alone traffic lights on the back of a trailer kind of thing.
Dave Blanks: I know.
Matt Dull: On each side of it, so be able to have signaling of —
Dave Blanks: All day long.
Matt Dull: All day long and all night long.
Dave Blanks: All through the night, yeah, yeah.
Matt Dull: Got to keep that road operational throughout all of this.
Dave Blanks: It's been very safe. I haven't had any issues at all, so it's just barely a minor delay. The light changes pretty quick.
Matt Dull: And an off-roading experience.
Dave Blanks: And a little off-road, yeah which I wasn't expecting. Pretty cool.
Matt Dull: Yeah.
Dave Blanks: What else, Matt?
Matt Dull: Building 200, again continuing to do structural steel framing of that building. So, if you've looked at any of the pictures lately.
Dave Blanks: Where could you see those?
Matt Dull: I bet we could find them at the future site, appstate.edu/future.
Dave Blanks: Right, check it out if you want to see some pics. If you've looked at them lately.
Matt Dull: If you've looked at them lately, you can start seeing that structural steel frame of the building coming out of the ground. Last week, and then continuing into this week and next week, we'll be framing the bottom two levels of that building.
Dave Blanks: Cool.
Matt Dull: Early August, if you go over towards the site, you'll actually start seeing the building really rising out of the ground over the next few months or so. It's been pretty exciting to actually see something other than just those concrete foundations and just to actually see something come out of the ground, which is pretty exciting for the project. Building 200, again on schedule for fall 2020 delivery. Exciting stuff. I think when students come back to campus this fall, and all of our visitors that come to campus for football games, and family weekend and all the different fall events we have on campus, they'll actually have quite a bit to see when they are over on that side of campus.
Dave Blanks: Absolutely. So how quickly are students going to be living in 100 and 200?
Matt Dull: Students will be moving in on move-in day in August of 2020, so that's just shy of 1,000 beds will be opening up for August of 2020. Pretty soon, we're already starting to work on our move-in day plan. We're a year out from that, but we really have to start thinking about how we do move-in differently when you add another 1,000 people to that side of campus to move in.
Dave Blanks: Absolutely, yeah.
Matt Dull: We've actually been doing a couple of different site visits to other campuses, to have conversations with them on how they do their move-in day.
Dave Blanks: Oh, no kidding?
Matt Dull: All these more tighter sites like we have where we're going to have more students living within an area than we currently have now and just try to figure out, well ,how do they do it? How do they stage traffic into the site? How do they get students in and out safely and how do they get people to unload all the stuff they bring to their residence hall, and how to get that out of the car and into the residence hall as quick as possible and keep the car circulation moving and getting people to a place where they can permanently park for the rest of the day?
We're having to really think about all those logistics, and we're trying to do that now so we have a plan in place, not only for this fall, but really have a plan in place for next fall, when we are still building building 300, so it's still ... part of it's going to be an active construction site at the same time you're moving students into a brand new residence hall, two brand new residence halls. It's been interesting to start having these conversations now. It feels a long way out, but I don't think it's too early.
Dave Blanks: Absolutely not. Did you go on the fact-finding mission? Whatever you want to call it.
Matt Dull: Yeah.
Dave Blanks: The field trip.
Matt Dull: No, we've done one school already. We're going to look at doing a couple other campuses. We went to James Madison University up in Harrisonburg, Virginia. Similar size and similar institution, public institution like Appalachian. We went to go look at a few other things other than just housing, but we really wanted to talk to them. They do a two-day move-in experience. We do a one-day move-in experience right now, but they do two days and we talked with them a lot about just how do they stage their move-in, what does that look like? How do you keep people safe, how do you keep it efficient?
Really great visit and we'll probably look at a few other campuses here over the next couple of months to figure out how to do move-in as best as possible as we add on these two other buildings.
Dave Blanks: It's always fun to go on these visits because, as higher ed professionals and housing professionals, you have these conversations with folks. You can share similar stories of that first-year student that shows up on campus with a U-Haul trailer and somehow thinks it's all going to fit in a residence hall room. Word of advice for parents moving their children in this fall on a campus college?
Matt Dull: Less is more.
Dave Blanks: Less is more. Students can go home during the fall break or winter break and trade out clothing they need for that next semester or the next part of the semester, so you don't have to bring it all at once.
Matt Dull: You can also hit up the Big Sale.
Dave Blanks: You can hit up the Big Sale on Appalachian's campus, which is really awesome.
Matt Dull: Yeah, the Saturday before move-in, the Big Sale happens. Great place to go get everything from your shower caddie to rugs. They're selling —
Dave Blanks: Fans.
Matt Dull: Furnitures and fans and books.
Dave Blanks: Lamps.
Matt Dull: School supplies and lamps.
Dave Blanks: Everything for your residence hall.
Matt Dull: Everything for your residence hall room. That'll be in Legends. That's over on the east side of campus right on Hardin Street. And all of the money really helps go to support both scholarships at Appalachian and a few of our local charities that our students have partnered with this year.
Dave Blanks: So don't pack the U-Haul totally full of all that stuff.
Matt Dull: That's right. There's opportunities to buy stuff here.
Dave Blanks: For cheap. I mean, it's good deals.
Matt Dull: It's good deals and it's mainly lightly used stuff that students said, "You know what, I don't want to take this home after this year."
Dave Blanks: Right.
Matt Dull: Or, "I don't want to move this into my next place." Students have left these materials behind and we've stored them over the summer and we will open up in August to sell all that fun stuff back to students. It all goes to a good cause for scholarships for our students to do services experiences, as well as to help support some of our awesome local organizations.
Dave Blanks: Any other updates, Matt?
Matt Dull: Yeah, just some quick updates on the parking deck.
Dave Blanks: Ah yes.
Matt Dull: Parking deck's coming along great. We've been saying it for the past few weeks that lots of really exciting finish work going on now.
Dave Blanks: The final touches.
Matt Dull: The final touches to open up that parking deck and just a few short weeks. That's the exciting message. On schedule for that August opening, which is really exciting for the fall.
Dave Blanks: Can't beat that.
Matt Dull: Can't beat that. Yeah, last week started on a lot of the concrete driveway between the parking deck and Frank Residence Hall and redoing some of the front area of Frank Residence Hall, so that's going to be all nice and new for our students moving into Frank, which will be nice. The nice part about ... when we finish up the parking deck and that driveway and in front of Frank and Belk, that whole section's really going to be done. For students that are living in those couple of residence halls, a lot of the disruption of the driveway and sidewalks and tearing up things to put in different utilities and that kind of stuff, that whole section's really going to be finished out this August. It's going to be exciting, I think, for those students to really have their residence halls totally buttoned up and back to where it was before we started the parking deck just a few short months ago.
Dave Blanks: Very good.
Matt Dull: Be exciting to have that. All the little things that you got to do, so barrier fencing and handrails and all of that; things you need around a site. What would be probably one of the worst jobs for me, because I really hate doing it in our house, is caulking.
Dave Blanks: Oh yeah, man.
Matt Dull: I was over on the site last week and walking around. They're going through, caulking every little concrete seam in the building.
Dave Blanks: Oh yeah. Your finger man. Don't use the tool. That tool, it's a sham.
Matt Dull: It's a —
Dave Blanks: It's no good. Your finger works so much better. I caulked my whole house.
Matt Dull: Don't use that as seen on TV caulking trowel.
Dave Blanks: Whatever the super specialty... Yeah, no.
Matt Dull: Whatever it is.
Dave Blanks: Give me a break. That thing's not going to help.
Matt Dull: Going through and caulking all of the concrete seams in the building and putting in all the expansion joints, and all the little things that, again, you don't think about but really need to be done as we finish up the building. Striping the building for parking spaces, that's going to happen over the next few weeks. Putting in some waterproof coating in certain sections where the ramps or the part of the parking deck's over equipment rooms. You don't want water getting through the concrete and getting into your electrical room or your elevator room and that kind of thing.
Dave Blanks: Just seal that off.
Matt Dull: Yeah, so all those little final touches are going in. Finishing up the elevator and all the controls that go with that. This is not super exciting, but it's exciting for me.
Dave Blanks: You seem into it.
Matt Dull: Trying to clean up that area and get it back to normal for the students that are over in the Eggers and Bowie and Frank and Belk. Putting in a new set of stairs, the stairs coming down from Eggers Hall land in the Stadium Lot. We're actually turning those stairs and those stairs will exit right in front of the parking deck. Those are going in. Started last week with the footings. Those will be going in this week and next week. All the little sidewalks and curb and all that stuff that's around the parking deck. All that's going to get in and be the final look for that area. It's going to be really exciting to have that whole space between Eggers, the parking deck, and Frank, and Belk really finished up in its final state in August. It's pretty cool.
Dave Blanks: It's going to be great [crosstalk 00:15:00].
Matt Dull: Another three or four weeks that all that's going to be finished up. It'll be nice for the students who are living over there to have new sidewalks and curbs and landscaping and driveways and patios in front of the building, and just get all that cleaned up.
Dave Blanks: Awesome. Everything's on schedule.
Matt Dull: Yeah.
Dave Blanks: Matt hates caulking.
Matt Dull: There's a lesson learned from today's podcast.
Dave Blanks: Those are the takeaways.
Matt Dull: That no one's ever going to hire me to be caulking anything.
Dave Blanks: Oh, and good to the Big Sale, go to the Big Sale.
Matt Dull: And go to the Big Sale, that's another big takeaway.
Dave Blanks: Don't bring your U-Haul to move-in day.
Matt Dull: And don't bring your U-Haul to move-in day. If we have learned anything no, not all of that can fit into a residence hall room.
Dave Blanks: I mean they're roomy, but they're not that roomy.
Matt Dull: Especially the new buildings we're building; they're roomy, but leave the U-Haul at home.
Dave Blanks: Yeah for real. Good advice. Matt, is there anything else before we wrap it up?
Matt Dull: I think that's it. Again, parking deck, just those final touches and the doors and finish and all that kind of fun stuff, fire alarms, security cameras, emergency phones.
Dave Blanks: The low voltage.
Matt Dull: All the low voltage equipment.
Dave Blanks: Equipment, yes.
Matt Dull: All of that's going in now, so it's just exciting. Just overall parking deck finished for fall, cleaning up the site, getting it ready for another great semester once students arrive, and just another, shall I say it, month.
Dave Blanks: Yeah, I know. Yeah.
Matt Dull: Wow.
Dave Blanks: Goodbye, summer.
Matt Dull: Goodbye, summer. I would say let's go play outside, but it's raining.
Dave Blanks: It's pouring down.
Matt Dull: It's pouring the rain.
Dave Blanks: Matt, thanks a lot for coming by.
Matt Dull: Absolutely.
Dave Blanks: All right, we'll do it again.