Assistant Vice Chancellor for Finance and Operations Matt Dull shares updates concerning construction projects on Appalachian's campus, including changes to parking in Stadium Lot, the fencing off of Duck Pond Field and building progress for the parking deck at the site of former Winkler Hall.
Dave Blanks: Well, Matt Dull, welcome back to the studio. Thanks so much for being with me again.
Matt Dull: Absolutely. Thanks Dave.
Dave Blanks: Let's start, I guess, with a recap of maybe what happened last week. And then can we talk about what's coming up this week, and maybe answer an additional question?
Matt Dull: Sure, absolutely.
Dave Blanks: OK.
Matt Dull: Exciting time right now.
Dave Blanks: Good stuff. Yes. So what happened last week?
Matt Dull: So, we had the benefit over the past couple of weeks of some really dry weather, which has allowed Choate Construction, that's our construction company, to get a lot of work done on the site. We've had a pretty wet winter, as probably everyone knows. It started out with hurricanes and grew into a lot of snow. So, it's been really nice to have a lot of dry weather this week. Finishing up all of the grading that make each of the different levels of the parking deck. So that's kind of the last little bit of site work that really happens.
Matt Dull: We've updated a water line that goes between the new parking deck and Frank Hall, replacing an existing water line that goes to the west side of campus. And we finished up the aggregate piers throughout the parking deck.
Dave Blanks: Ah, yes. The aggregate piers.
Matt Dull: Yes. So this is a vocabulary lesson for all of our listeners as well.
Dave Blanks: I like aggregate pier. That's a good new word. Cool. Sounds like a lot of progress.
Matt Dull: Yeah. And so, by finishing those up that's really going to allow us to start pouring foundations this week for the parking deck.
Dave Blanks: Excellent. Cool. Yeah, I actually saw some stuff already going on on Duck Pond Field. At least I saw a piece of machinery out there.
Matt Dull: Yeah, that's right. And we're closing in to start our construction site for building 100 and 200.
Dave Blanks: Right. Well what's going on this week?
Matt Dull: So this week, there's one really big exciting piece. We are completing the financial close for the first phase of the project on Thursday, February the 14th.
Dave Blanks: OK. So what does that mean — completing the financial close?
Matt Dull: So, it's finalizing all of our agreements between all the parties that are constructing the building. That's for building 100, 200 and the parking deck.
Dave Blanks: OK
Matt Dull: You can kind of think of it a little bit like closing —
Dave Blanks: Oh, like on a house?
Matt Dull: — on a house. Exactly. So, you know, you usually go to like an attorney's office and there's a huge stack of paperwork. So, you know, it's all the contracts you have to sign — what are we agreeing to? What price are we agreeing to?
Dave Blanks: Right. OK.
Matt Dull: Going through all the little disclosure kind of things. So that's happening this week, which is really exciting. That helps kind of put a bow on everything from a financial and legal perspective on the project.
Dave Blanks: Super. So everybody's on the same page and there's an agreement.
Matt Dull: Right. So we're all agreeing; what are we building, for what price, all that happens this week.
Dave Blanks: Great. What else?
Matt Dull: Closing on the project really allows us to start mobilizing our construction team. So, as I mentioned before, Choate Construction's our construction team on this project.
Dave Blanks: Now I know I've seen them before, like I've seen their name around like a lot, right?
Matt Dull: Yeah. So Choate's a North Carolina company. They're also based out of Atlanta and have offices throughout the Southeast. They've done a couple of bigger projects in Boone, not necessarily for Appalachian.
Dave Blanks: Yeah. No, I didn't think so. But, OK, well cool. So I kind of interrupted you there. Apologies.
Matt Dull: No. No worries. So yeah, closing the project this week really allows us to start moving Choate in, and they will be on-site this Friday, February the 15th. And their project leadership’s already kind of coming on site this week. They are in Boone and getting ready for all of the work to begin this week.
Dave Blanks: Excellent. Well, so what does this mean for campus?
Matt Dull: So, this week, you'll begin to see fencing around the Duck Pond Field and a portion of the Stadium Parking Lot. The spaces that are closest to Owens Field House, you'll see a kind of metal construction fence that will start going up around that entire site. And again, those are our sites for building 100 and 200.
Dave Blanks: Gotcha. Well, so that will look different, and there will be fencing on Duck Pond Field as well, huh?
Matt Dull: Yeah, that's right.
Dave Blanks: So Duck Pond Field not accessible for playing anymore.
Matt Dull: Not accessible for playing anymore. So I hope folks enjoyed being on Duck Pond Field last week, and the 60-degree weather, and this week we'll begin fencing that area off to start construction.
Dave Blanks: Are there any parking spaces that are going to be lost because of the fencing, Matt?
Matt Dull: So, we will be losing some parking spaces of Stadium Lot closest to Owens Field House. Again, those parking spaces will become where we build building 200 in the project.
Dave Blanks: So we're losing those parking spaces. So how are we going to make up the difference, like, in the parking?
Matt Dull: Yeah. So, those parking spaces that are coming offline, we actually did not sell all the parking spaces for Stadium Lot for the spring semester. So, if you think about it, there's a number of students that have parking permits in Stadium Lot for fall only because in the spring they graduate in December, and the spring semester they are doing a study abroad, they're doing a student teaching and an internship somewhere. And so, there are a number of parking spaces. Normally every year, we would actually resell a lot of parking spaces to spring-only students, or students who only need a parking space for spring. And we haven't resold that lot. And so we have enough parking spaces for those who have permits for the spring semester, but we didn't go out and sell additional spring semester-only parking spaces for Stadium Lot.
Dave Blanks: I understand. I got you. But that won't be a permanent sort of thing. We will be back to even more parking than we had before after this project is over.
Matt Dull: Yeah, absolutely. That's right. And even by the fall semester. So, our parking deck, it's a 475-space parking deck, it will be finished by August of 2019. So for the fall of 2019, we'll be back up to our parking count for that Stadium Lot area. So students who are used to parking in that Stadium Parking Lot, the stadium parking deck will now be available for students starting this fall.
Dave Blanks: Fantastic. So if you drive into Stadium, how are you going to know where you are allowed to park and where you are not allowed to park?
Matt Dull: Yeah, that's a good question. So this week, parking will be coning off a lot of the spaces that will be a part of the fenced in area in the future, and they'll also be on-site trying to talk to people as they come in to the parking lot, explaining what part of the Stadium Lot will be open after this week, and what part of the Stadium Lot will be fenced in. So, we're really going to try to get to each person that's parking in Stadium Lot every day to let them know where is a safe place to park in the parking lot where they're not going to be part of the future construction zone.
Dave Blanks: Excellent. So Matt, if you have a Stadium Lot pass, and you're looking in Stadium, and you cannot find a spot, then what are your options for parking?
Matt Dull: So there are other options. Those that have a Stadium parking permit can park in Greenwood Lot as well as the Baseball Stadium Complex Lot at the top of Bodenheimer Drive and can take the AppalCart.
Dave Blanks: OK. So if you have Stadium you can do Greenwood or the Baseball Complex?
Matt Dull: Yeah, that's right.
Dave Blanks: All right.
Matt Dull: So, I would suggest people budget a little bit of extra time for themselves, get to campus a little bit early so you can find a parking space, and also if you do need to use one of the backup lots, like Greenwood or the Baseball Stadium Complex Lot, that you'd actually give yourself enough time to take the AppalCart down the hill.
Dave Blanks: Right. That's good advice. Well Matt Dull, thank you so much for the update on construction, and we will do it again, sir.
Matt Dull: Absolutely. Thanks Dave. Appreciate it.