Campus Construction Update, September 30, 2019
University Communications' Dave Blanks welcomes Jeff Pierce, director of planning, design and construction at Appalachian, and Michelle Novacek, business process analyst for facilities, for a discussion of the Kidd Brewer Stadium north end zone project, Blue Ridge Way and renovations to Sanford Hall.
Dave Blanks: Hey, folks, this is Dave Blanks from University Communications back, once again, with another Campus Construction Update. But this one is different than any Campus Construction Update that has come before it because I'm not joined by Matt Dull. I'm joined by Michelle Novacek. Hello, Michelle.
M. Novacek: Hello, Dave.
Dave Blanks: And I'm also joined by Jeff Pierce. Hello, Jeff.
J. Pierce: Hello, Dave. How you doing today?
Dave Blanks: I'm excellent! I hope you are.
J. Pierce: Outstanding. Thank you.
Dave Blanks: Good, good. I'm glad you all could join me. So, can you give the people what you do here at App... give our listeners what you do at App?
And then I'll take it from there. Michelle, can we start with you? What do you do here at Appalachian State?
M. Novacek: Well, I do our communications for Planning, Design and Construction.
Dave Blanks: Uh-huh.
M. Novacek: And for Physical Plant.
Dave Blanks: OK, cool. And Jeff, what do you do, sir?
J. Pierce: I am the director of planning, design and construction. I oversee all of our project managers, that's facilitating the various projects that you see throughout campus.
Dave Blanks: OK, cool. That's why y'all are here because usually I have Matt, and Matt has a lot of information about the building on the west side construction, the residence halls, the parking deck that we have over there, and that's what we normally talk about. But there's other construction going on on campus that people are interested in, that I'm interested in. We're going to talk about some of that today. Jeff, I like how you said, it was kind of like a virtual walking tour, right? Isn't that how you phrased it?
J. Pierce: That's right. We're going to take a virtual walking tour from the western part of campus, over where we're doing the end zone project, and we'll cross the campus and end up over at Sanford Hall.
Dave Blanks: Cool! What is the status of the the end zone project? Should we start with that?
J. Pierce: Yeah, let's do that. There's just a little bit of overview. It's a $43 million authorized project. We're going through the process of bidding right now, as well as the initial part of construction. Right now, on the site, you're seeing the foundation going in. We're putting in the oversized footers, that's going in right now, and that will go on for another two or three weeks. Then, around October the 10th is when we we'll start placing steel, so you'll start seeing the steel frame go up. We have it broken down into two completion phases. The first phase will be completed by the first football game, next season.
Dave Blanks: Right. So the first football game of 2020.
J. Pierce: Correct. Which will include the retail spaces, include the box seating, which will overlook the end zone onto the field, as well as the area for Food Services, their catering space. And that will be done, like I said, by the first football game and next season. The rest of the building we'll wrap up in November, December time frame, and if we do any change orders or additions to it, that'll extend that time frame out a little bit longer.
Dave Blanks: All right, so two-phase project. There is actually a cam that's on the site currently, is that right, Jeff?
J. Pierce: That is, that's a live camera on the site as well.
Dave Blanks: How do you get to that?
J. Pierce: Resort cams, Appalachian State.
Dave Blanks: Cool. So, just Google that.
So you can see exactly what's going on right this very minute on the end zone project.
Check that out. What were you going to say?
J. Pierce: No, I was going to say, Athletics has got their webpage as well, so you probably find it there, and then there's some 3D tours. It's already set up where we've gone through and 3D modeled the loge boxes, the interior dining facilities, the weight room, and we 3D modeled that, so you can go hit those sites, and I want to say Athletics has that up, where you can kind of take a virtual tour of that.
Dave Blanks: OK, cool. What kind of boxes did you say? What does ...
M. Novacek: Loge.
Dave Blanks: Lowe's ... is that like Lowe's Hardware? [crosstalk 00:03:28] Loge ... What is that?
M. Novacek: What they are is, you can sit in a section with your friends and there's a refrigerator in your section outside and the seats are really comfy office seats with wheels on them, so you can fidget and ...
Dave Blanks: I got to get with the times, y'all.
M. Novacek: And I think it probably has a rail on the front where you can put your drinks. Is that right?
J. Pierce: That's right. You got a little counter there in front of you.
Dave Blanks: Loge ...
M. Novacek: What would be awesome is, if you could pull out your phone, put in a food order and then have it delivered to your loge seat.
Dave Blanks: Does that happen?
M. Novacek: Well, not right now because there's no loge.
J. Pierce: But if John Eckman hears this broadcast, he may come with that idea. [crosstalk 00:04:12].
M. Novacek: I feel like he's going to do that. John Eckman does not miss a trick. I feel like ...
Dave Blanks: Who is John, for people who don't ...
J. Pierce: John Eckman is the vice chancellor of auxiliary services. He's in charge of Food Services.
Dave Blanks: All right, this will be on John's radar then.
M. Novacek: I feel sure it already is.
Dave Blanks: All right. Well, cool. Anything else that we want to cover about the end zone project?
M. Novacek: Do people know what's in there? What it really is?
Dave Blanks: I don't know. Share a little bit about it.
M. Novacek: So, we've got ... when Jeff talked about, sort of the phased opening, we're opening up ...
Dave Blanks: Two phases.
M. Novacek: Right, we're opening up the areas that the public would benefit from first. That's like the seating, if you want to go in the store and buy something, you know.
Dave Blanks: Like a merchandise kind of store?
M. Novacek: Why, yes.
Dave Blanks: Oh, cool!
M. Novacek: So, you could buy App-branded things.
Dave Blanks: Get your App gear.
J. Pierce: Game day T-shirts and pompoms, and everything else is there.
Dave Blanks: Cool.
M. Novacek: But then, what people don't see, the back of the house stuff, is coaches' offices. There's actually some space that could be leased out to medical offices, like orthopedic.
Dave Blanks: Like sports medicine-type stuff.
M. Novacek: Right, exactly, and you're right there where the university's actually doing their training. There's hydrotherapy pools in there ...
J. Pierce: There's a new weight room, so we're moving the weight room out of the Athletics Center and moving it out there. That way the football players can come right out a weight room and go right out onto the field. You'll have some roll up doors as part of that.
M. Novacek: I think the coolest part of it, though, is like the top floor is banquet-type facilities.
Dave Blanks: Yeah, I was going to ask about that. What's going to happen there?
M. Novacek: Oh, I think it's going to be beautiful because you're going to be looking out at the mountains. You know how pretty it is when you sit in the stadium and you look out. Anytime during the year you could use that space for meetings. That's one thing that is hard to find: conference space.
Dave Blanks: Podcast space ... we can record up there.
J. Pierce: You can do it right on the balcony, looking out over.
M. Novacek: I think that's really neat. And then during football-type events, you could go up and have a buffet up there. You have the end zone seats. You have special access to that area, be really beautiful I think.
Dave Blanks: Awesome. So, have we covered kind of what's in there?
M. Novacek: Did we leave anything out?
Dave Blanks: Did we leave anything out?
J. Pierce: No, that's pretty much everything that's there.
Dave Blanks: OK, so, where can people get the best information about what the end zone project is, aside from the resort cam; where's the resource for info on that?
M. Novacek: Anytime you have a question about construction on campus, there's a Future site. If you go on the main campus webpage ...
Dave Blanks: Appstate.edu.
M. Novacek: Right, and then you look down, I think it says, "What's in our future," and there's a section where you ...
Dave Blanks: Let me look at it. I want to make sure. App State ... "What's in App's Future?" So, click on that and that takes you to the Future site. That's appstate.edu/appalachians-future. And it's got everything that's going on on campus, including the end zone project?
M. Novacek: Mmm hmm.
Dave Blanks: Yeah, here it is. Kidd Brewer Stadium north end zone project. It's got the mock-ups so you can check that out. So yeah, that looks cool. Great. So this is not the only piece of construction that we're going to talk about on this podcast. We're also going to talk about ... on the walking tour, what's the next one?
J. Pierce: The next piece of the walking tour is the Blue Ridge ... what was it?
M. Novacek: What do we call it? I think we call it Blue Ridge Way.
Dave Blanks: It's the Blue Ridge Way.
M. Novacek: All along we were calling it the Stadium Connector, or maybe it's the beginning of the Arts Walk. And what it is, it serves a dual purpose. So, every day, it's a really nice, wide sidewalk. Kind of like the sidewalk that goes around Sanford Mall, with bricks on it, very pretty, lots of room to spread out and walk. But, during events, where we have lots and lots of people, whether it's a concert or a football game, it provides a secondary exit road. You can actually drive a car on it, at that point there are bollards that we can fold down and, what's great about it is, it gives us better access for emergency vehicles.
J. Pierce: Good. So, during the football game here, we used it as a one-way entrance, as well as exit, to get the folks out of the new parking deck a lot quicker and get them loaded up because, due to all construction and the way that things are laid out, we knew we were going to have some areas that was some heavy congestion. We were able to get that completed and get it in place and open it back up so Public Safety, as well as Parking Traffic, could get it up and operational. But the way it was originally planned was, we needed a secondary exit out of the Stadium Lot in case there's ever an emergency that took place. I think about three years ago we had a fire alarm to go off over in Trivette, during a football game, I think it was a Thursday night football game we had, we had a lot of emergency response vehicles come in and we gridlocked Stadium Drive.
When we started planning the area there, it was Steve Martin who was here at the time said, "We need to find another way out." So, I took a vehicle and just drove through different areas, down between Newland and Trivette, that sidewalk there, looked at that, but the natural route was beside Wey. It just flowed and, as Michelle alluded to, also, several times Hank Foreman and Denise Ringler had talked about doing an Arts Walk, and so, it just made perfect sense. We got a new parking deck, we have the Schaefer Center that puts on performances, the different venues and having a nice pedestrian way come up past that. Then, to take you across Rivers Street, over towards Peacock, back up to Valborg.
Dave Blanks: So, it goes kind of like, right beside the Schaefer Center.
J. Pierce: It does, it comes right out into the circle there in front of the Schaefer Center, down the Rivers Street, which has a controlled light. So, during the football games, you got police officers right there at major intersections, so they divide the traffic up and, coming out that way, they send them north. It frees up the traffic for emergency vehicles or whatever needs to take place.
Dave Blanks: Awesome. Blue Ridge Way.
J. Pierce: Blue Ridge Way. And so, in conjunction with that, we're also going to go right across there on Rivers Street, where you turn in to go to the Peacock Lot, where the bus drop-off station's at, and we're going to redo the sidewalks there. DOT (Department of Transportation) has already repaved that area in there.
Dave Blanks: It's nice now.
J. Pierce: Yes.
Dave Blanks: It's great.
J. Pierce: Yeah, it's not a bumpy ride coming in there ...
Dave Blanks: No more.
J. Pierce: So, we're going to realign the sidewalk, get it lined up with the actual light, pedestrian light, on Rivers Street, so it's easier for our students, faculty, staff to go across Rivers Street.
Dave Blanks: That's a great change.
J. Pierce: Yeah, and hit that parking area.
Dave Blanks: Because you do worry about the students when you're trying to pull out of there because, there's not like a clear path, so you really have to watch them. Not that you don't always pay attention, but that'll be great. That's something that we definitely need. That's a great improvement. We did lose the little median that was right in the middle. That was kind of the island for students to hang out on when they were trying to cross. So, what was the ... I guess we're trying to take that out and make a section that, here you can stay on this one side so that way they don't have to cross that way.
J. Pierce: They'll have ... if you look at the way DOT's laid it out, they have ramps on both sides of that entrance into Peacock Lot. But what we wanted to do is take out that median so we had a wider width there. Now we can go back in and put that new sidewalk in, as you go in. We had to make space for that. That's the reason why the median came out.
Dave Blanks: It always, it seemed to get stomped on a lot. I mean really, because everybody used it as just ...
M. Novacek: Yeah, like their little way point. So, you can't really have anything beautiful in there.
Dave Blanks: No.
M. Novacek: I was going to say, did you notice we took out the giant hump that the buses had to go over there?
Dave Blanks: Yes, I'm sure that all the AppalCART drivers are praising your name, right?
M. Novacek: Not my name specifically. I mean I ...
Dave Blanks: I'm sure they are very, very happy that the bump is gone. That gets us across the street there, across Rivers Street into the Peacock Lot. Was that where we were get ... that's not where we're going to stop it on this.
J. Pierce: No, it's not.
Dave Blanks: The walking tour continues.
J. Pierce: The walking tour continues.
M. Novacek: The virtual walking tour.
J. Pierce: Exactly. So, now we're going to go through Sanford Mall and stop at Sanford Hall. Sanford Hall is an $18 million renovation of all floors. We're working with Dr. Neva Specht, the dean of (the College of) Arts and Sciences, and her staff remodeling, like I said, Sanford Hall. We've done a complete re-gut. Demolition is taking place right now. We've ripped everything out. We're going through, evaluating the structure of it. The construction manager at risk is Vannoy Construction, which is out of West Jefferson. They've done several of our buildings here on campus, so they're leading the charge on that one. LS3P is the lead designer of it, and they're one of our top designers; they've been doing a lot of our designs here on campus.
M. Novacek: Yeah, they did the College of Health Sciences.
Dave Blanks: Yeah, they did the College of Health Sciences.
Dave Blanks: Oh yeah!
M. Novacek: Which is beautiful.
Dave Blanks: Fantastic. I'm looking at the artist rendering from LS3P on the Future site. It is a big change. It looks good though. You can check that out there, too.
J. Pierce: Yeah. What you'll see there is the old elevators that were inside the building itself or, they were old and antiquated and we were having a lot of problems with them. What we're doing there is taking the elevators out from inside the building and moving it to the exterior of the building. So, we'll have a new elevator shaft and new elevator there. Downstairs we'll have more of open seating, kind of a space for the kids that come in and study. We opened up, put more glass in there. Just a lot of new finishes, modern finishes in this area.
Dave Blanks: You walk in and there's not really a common space so much.
M. Novacek: No.
Dave Blanks: I do remember that.
M. Novacek: It's just crowded hallways. You know, that building has been really, really used and, that's not a bad thing, I mean, we want to use ...
Dave Blanks: That's why we build them.
M. Novacek: That's why we build them. But, it was so overloaded and, as we needed to add on more faculty and graduate assistants, there were people that were using closets.
Dave Blanks: Very tight offices.
M. Novacek: And then, on top of that, you've got, there was some leaking going on with the ... rain happens, from the right direction. There was no air conditioning in there. You know, you see all those little air conditioning window units in there. We call them the window shakers.
Window shakers. Those suck a lot of electricity. That's not the most efficient way to cool a building. But you know, it was kind of all we could do with what we had. So much of the changes that'll be happening to this building are things that are kind of behind the walls.
Dave Blanks: Gotcha.
M. Novacek: It's going to feel much better when you go in, but at the same time, now you're going to have a great fire alarm and fire suppression system.
J. Pierce: Life-health safety and it goes right along with our strategic mission. You know, one of our strategic mission is sustainability, and we always look, in all of our projects, (for) ways that we can save energy and recoup those operational dollars to put back in towards general education. That's one of our key missions in Planning, Design and Construction.
Dave Blanks: I'm looking at ... are we getting rid of the steps that go up, like into it from Sanford Mall?
J. Pierce: Yeah. You take a look at the website page. You'll see exactly how we're reshaping the front of Sanford Mall itself, in front there, to take away those steps, like you said, and make it more ease of entrance in the front of the building.
Dave Blanks: And I see all that, all the glass that you've added in there. So yeah, that will be nice. It's been, it's been a little dark in there.
I learned a lot in there, but it was kind of dark.
M. Novacek: What did you learn in there, Dave?
Dave Blanks: I learned about poetry. I remember poetry in there. I had Robin Lowe and Dr. ... was it Lisiak, Lasiak? I don't know. I learned a lot, OK?
M. Novacek: Clearly. You retained it all.
J. Pierce: You know, Anthropology was over there for the longest time.
And you know, we moved out Anthropology and put them upstairs here and remodeled the third floor of this building.
Dave Blanks: Anne Belk.
J. Pierce: Correct. And put them up on the third floor of this library here.
Dave Blanks: Ah, OK. So, where are the English classes happening now if the building's been gutted?
Right now they're over in Edwin Duncan Hall. So, Edwin Duncan Hall has been kind of designated as our swing space, as we do major renovations on campus. Then we move departments there as well, and, of course, you can take a ... right across from Sanford Hall is L.S. Dougherty. We remodeled the interior that, upgraded some of the classrooms, so the language arts has moved over to that to building there, and that's going to be their, their home as well.
M. Novacek: Yeah, it's Language, Literatures and Cultures are in there, and they're going to be in there semipermanently. They're not going to move back into Sanford.
Dave Blanks: I never went in that building.
M. Novacek: It's a cool building.
Dave Blanks: I've still never been in that building.
M. Novacek: I think it's like a little jewel box. It's just, it's really small and it has, on the one side, just gets light from top to bottom. You can have giant plants in there and ... but the floors are always really shiny. It's just always really clean feeling.
Dave Blanks: I'm going to check it out.
M. Novacek: It's a very old building.
Dave Blanks: Yeah. Hey, do we want to cover any other construction on campus today, with this one? Or we want to come back and do another one? Because there is other other stuff that's happening that y'all are privy to information about, that we could share with people.
J. Pierce: We've got over 111 active contracts going on.
Dave Blanks: Wow!
Over $300 million worth of construction. So yeah, it varies from sizes and locations.
Michelle and Jeff, thank y'all so much for your time. It's been a pleasure. We have ... Michelle thought we were going to go seven minutes, so we went longer than that, Michelle.
M. Novacek: You have a lot of editing to do.
Dave Blanks: I've got to edit a lot of this out. Hey y'all, thanks so much. We'll do it again. Can we do it again?
J. Pierce: Yeah, let's do it.
Dave Blanks: OK, we'll do it again. Come back for another Campus Construction Update. Thank y'all.
M. Novacek: Thank you, Dave.
J. Pierce: Thank you, Dave.