Campus Construction Update, December 14, 2021
Associate Vice Chancellor for Finance and Operations Matt Dull chats with University Communications' Dave Blanks about the construction progress for App State's New River Hall.
Matt Dull: Yeah. Oh, I feel like I'm kind of already there. I've got a pair of reading glasses that every now and then I got to put on. I don't have to wear them at home or anything yet.
Dave: You don't have to, but you choose to just because your wife loves them.
Matt Dull: Yeah. Well, I'm sure.
Dave: Let's just do this for the podcast. Let's talk about campus construction, man.
Matt Dull: Sounds good. It's been a little while.
Dave: It has been a while. So, when last we spoke of construction, the buildings were not yet... some of them were complete, some were not complete. Can you give us an overview of where we are now with... Man, I can't even remember the name of-
Matt Dull: New River.
Dave: New River. Yeah. Tell me about New River. Where are we on New River right now?
Matt Dull: Yeah. New River Hall is going well. If you have seen any of the pictures on the future site or have been by there lately, you've seen most of that brick work on the front side of the building, that elevation of the building that is parallel with Rivers Street.
Dave: The Varsity Gymnasium.
Matt Dull: Yeah. Yeah, there you go. Faces. Yeah. Varsity Gymnasium.
Dave: I don't know. There's a lot of way as we could expect-
Matt Dull: That side so we've got all the masonry work done on that side of the building. Pre-cast stone. We've got some natural elk stone rock that's on the face of the building.
Dave: Yeah. Going all the way up the side.
Matt Dull: All the way up the whole side up that elevator and stairway shaft.
Dave: Looks fantastic.
Matt Dull: Looks awesome. Great little gateway to campus. The rock work and the brickwork is done there. Windows going into that side should wrap up here in the next couple of weeks or so. We've got another delivery of windows going in this week and then next week it should be finished up with the deliveries. And then it's just that installation. Right? So everything's framed out all the windows are framed in the building. We are actually putting the glass into the frame now. So we have wait a little bit a glass to be manufactured and get here. So that whole elevation or that whole wall of the building should be wrapped up here really looked like the final product in another couple of weeks.
Matt Dull: Which is kind of cool.
Dave: No more scaffolding in the way.
Matt Dull: No more scaffolding. You'll really see what that side of the building's going to look like when it's finished, which is exciting.
Dave: Very nice. Yeah.
Matt Dull: The crew is working their way into the courtyard that faces the cat building or Garwood hall. That is also getting finished up here in the next couple of weeks. So they've kind of moved to a side of the building where you don't see as much going on.
Matt Dull: They have between 50 and 60 masons here every day. So there's a huge crew working on the building.
Dave: Matt, how many people are on site? If you had to average it out every day. Let's just take for the last month. How many people are over there?
Matt Dull: Yeah, usually it would be in the 180 to 200 range.
Dave: Wow. Okay.
Matt Dull: Of course that ebbs and flows a little bit based on what you're doing, you've got a few folks that are kind of trailing off because framing is almost done. So our framers getting ready to roll off the site, they have a handful of people left doing punch list things.
Matt Dull: Then you've got the asphalt folks or the concrete folks that are in and out kind of based on what your exterior needs are. And then there's that core group of folks, your electricians, your plumbers, your HVAC folks they're in the building every single day. Those crews are 40, 50 people for each one of those trades. They've also started work on the courtyard that's facing duck pond. So those will kind of get finished up. And that part of the building we're calling the, A Wing, the courtyard kind of area or that, that building looks like an H.
Matt Dull: Right?
Matt Dull: And so the part of the H...
Dave: The inner part, the part of the H that faces Duck Pond. Right?
Matt Dull: Right. Yeah. The bar, I don't know what you would call that in the letter H.
Dave: I don't know.
Matt Dull: Yeah. The part that faces Duck Pond and Garwood will be the next to be finished up with the masonry work.
Matt Dull: And then the last building, the part of the building, or the wing of the building, that's closest to where Gardner Coltrane was, that'll be the last place that they'll wrap with the brick work. So that'll continue into probably January and maybe February timeframe of finishing that up. So we're still a few months off from getting all of the brick work done, but not too far off, everything seems to be going on schedule there. We've had some really nice days. Yeah. We've had some cold days where it's tough to do a lot of masonry work.
Dave: Yeah. But also some days also some days getting close to the 60-degree mark.
Matt Dull: Also some days, 60-degree days in December are great days-
Matt Dull: To be doing masonry work outside.
Matt Dull: And they're also able to kind of tent, I don't know if you've seen that as you've driven by, on colder days they're tenting up, the scaffolding and actually have heaters in there to kind of keep the temperatures up so that the-
Dave: I did notice that. That's nice.
Matt Dull: Binder materials that you're putting all this rock work on are heated correctly.
Dave: That's funny. I was just like, oh yeah. So the workers can be like comfortable and stuff...but that too!
Dave: That's a positive effect as well.
Matt Dull: Yeah. Well, you think about product. Think about worker productivity, productivity on most construction sites do go down in the winter because the temperatures are cooler or colder. People are-
Dave: Going to conserve those calories, man.
Matt Dull: Yeah. Well, people need to go inside more warm up construction sites can really slow down in those winter months and just having a few of these days that are nice days really encourages everybody to show up, work hard, be on site. Not that they're not doing that every day. But it's just a little easier-
Dave: It's easier.
Matt Dull: ...When it's nice, nicer weather and warmer weather.
Dave: Understood. All right. So the H section will be next in line for getting brick and wrap. But listen, if the brick is not on it, you can still work inside, right?
Matt Dull: Oh yeah, absolutely. Yeah. So you think about the envelope, we think about the envelope of the building. What does you know, dried in really mean? It means we've got that Tyvek membrane that's on the outside. We've got windows in the window frames in the building. We've got a roof on that's keeping. So basically you're keeping all of the rain or elements out of the building. And then that brick is a facade you're putting on top of that membrane system that skin system that you've built.
Dave: Gotcha. Well, so what's going on inside?
Matt Dull: Yeah. Inside, we've got really all of the drywall, mostly done in the, A section of the building. So the section of the building, that's parallel with River Street and parallel with Stadium Drive. Those sections are almost done with drywall inside, which is great because that means we're now starting finish work at the top of those buildings, starting with tiling in the bathrooms, all the shower showers are set in the buildings. They're really starting to really look like the rooms. Restroom tile is going in, drywall's getting finished up on those floors and then you'll start working on other flooring. So like the LVT flooring, that's going into the rooms.
Dave: The luxury vinyl tile.
Matt Dull: Luxury Vinyl tile.
Matt Dull: If you will, and that's going in the rooms, we've done all this rough in, right. When you rough in, you're putting the plumbing, you're putting the electrical wire in, but you're not actually putting in the receptacles or the fixtures.
Matt Dull: All those kind of things are getting ready to start.
Dave: Just calling dibs.
Matt Dull: Yes.
Dave: This spot here.
Matt Dull: Now they're going in and actually starting with that, A Wing at the top floor and working their way down, just like we did in Laurel Creek, start at the top, try to finish a whole set of rooms and corridors and then move to the next one. And it takes about a couple of weeks, usually about two weeks or so to finish out an entire floor on a wing of a building.
Matt Dull: Same kind of, thing's going to happen here. They'll start at the top, finish it out. We'll do a punch list at the end of that. Right. And a lot of times we do a punch list at the very end of the project and we'll do a overarching punch list, but we really want to as we go through the building, so it's not this gigantic list of things to do at the very end.
Matt Dull: Here's what needs to finish for this section to be totally complete. And then we lock all the doors we keep people out of those sections. And so they stay basically ready to move in and ready to move in furniture. So we'll start that at the top, work down, do a punch list after kind of that two week window of getting the finishes done-
Dave: It's very conscientious of y'all.
Matt Dull: ...Right down to the next floor.
Dave: Yeah. Because it's like cleaning up while you're cooking. Okay. Cause then you're not saving it to the end and you're oh, it's overwhelming.
Matt Dull: Yeah, exactly. When you think about order of operations, like this is the stuff you don't think about a lot.
Dave: Hugely important.
Matt Dull: If you, if you do all of this and get it all perfect and ready, then you realize, oh yeah, we need to put in wifi. Now, all of a sudden you got drywall dust everywhere and you're cleaning again. And so it's really helpful to do all of that together, get it all ready to go, move in, ready and lock it all up. And then just keep people out of there.
Matt Dull: If work does need to happen there where a superintendent's walking with them and making sure that they know exactly what's been modified and what needs to be fixed to get it right. So, it's been really good, really great quality control measure that I think they've really, at this point showed our contractors really kind of honed in on exactly how to do that QC process and really get it, get a quality product.
Matt Dull: Yeah.
Dave: Yeah. Well, it's looking good. Anything else you want to cover today, Matt, about New River?
Matt Dull: I guess the only other thing is we're working this week on putting a binder code of asphalt down.
Dave: Parking lot.
Matt Dull: ... On that parking lot next to the building where Gardner Coal Train was.
Matt Dull: Now that's not going to be a parking lot immediately available for folks. And I'm sure we will be getting questions about that.
Dave: Right. Hey, can I go over here?
Matt Dull: As soon as people see and it looks like a paved parking lot.
Dave: Why can't we park there?
Matt Dull: Oh, I know because parking's always an issue on every campus.
Dave: It's looking good. The grading obviously is all done over there and it'll be like you said, like a lay down space, right?
Matt Dull: Yeah. It's going to be our lay down space for the construction work as we get more and more material or you get furniture in and just the bedroom furniture and these buildings maybe like 18 to 20, 18 wheelers big trucks. And we just try to rotate them in and out, like over a couple of day period. So staging areas for that. So they don't stage on stadium drive. Right. You know, when the HVACC equipment, when some of that additional equipment comes in the elevator equipment, all these kind of bigger pieces, a lot of the electrical, some of the bigger electrical equipment we need a place for that stuff to go sure until it goes in the building. So it doesn't land some other random little posted stamp somewhere. And getting all in one kind of secured site. So that's what it's going to be used for now. And then when the building opens up, that'll all be open together as surface parking right next to the building.
Dave: Cool. Sounds great. I was actually going to ... I was feeling good because last time we were talking about this, I wrote down the delivery dates and I was going to just seamlessly throw out the delivery date, but it has fallen into my huge pile of wrinkly post-it notes that I need to deal with. And I can't remember when the delivery date is. So when will people be able to park there, Matt?
Matt Dull: Yeah. So, the building should open up or is planning to open up in August of 2022. So should be that first week of August, first day of August of 2022 opening up, there may be some options to open up that parking a little bit earlier than that based on kind of the needs, but ...
Dave: What about if you know somebody who's on the inside, Matt, we're pretty close, right?
Matt Dull: That's right.
Dave: Come on, man.
Matt Dull: Well you know parking in the summer is not nearly as bad-
Dave: Oh no. It's, it's a breeze. Yeah.
Matt Dull: The Fall in the spring.
Dave: So there is some difference. You're right.
Matt Dull: There is definitely a little difference there.
Dave: Yeah. Well, Matt Dull, it's great to have you back. I'm glad you were here for this and I'm glad I was also here for this because without it, you would've just been alone. So Matt, thank you so much for your time and we'll do it again. Okay.
Matt Dull: Sounds good. Thanks Dave.