Campus Construction Update, Week of April 1, 2019

Assistant Vice Chancellor for Finance and Operations Matt Dull shares updates concerning construction projects on Appalachian's campus, including grading for the new residence halls, the arrival of prefabricated pieces for the parking deck and the start of the design process for building 300.


  • Dave Blanks: Hi, folks. I'm Dave Blanks from University Communications back once again with a Campus Construction Update, joined also once again by Matt Dull. Hello, Matt Dull.

    Matt Dull: Hey, Dave. Thanks for having me back.

    Dave Blanks: So, we've had some fantastic weather; at least last week was really good.

    Matt Dull: We have. We've had some amazing, amazing days just without rain.

    Dave Blanks: I know. Spring is here.

    Matt Dull: Spring is here, and hopefully it's here to stay and we don't kind of go back and forth.

    Dave Blanks: I hope so.

    Matt Dull: That's what we like to see in the construction side of things on campus, is nice sunny weather with not a lot of rain.

    Dave Blanks: Last week, and the week before that, we had our conversation with Jeremy Doss from RISE Real Estate, and we do appreciate Jeremy coming. This week, we're just doing some of those good old-fashioned updates.

    Matt Dull: Just some updates about the project.

    Dave Blanks: Yes. So what you got to start with, Matt?

    Matt Dull: Sure. I guess let's start with the parking deck. It's coming along nicely. If you've been over by the site, you've seen a lot of underground work and foundation kind of work happening; some walls going up. Most of that foundation work and underground work below that parking deck is finishing up this week, and we will be transitioning to the phase of actually bringing the parking deck up from the ground this week.

    Matt Dull: If you remember from previous podcasts, the parking deck is being prefabricated off-site. So over the past few months, our subcontractor for that, Metromont, has been prefabricating all of the components of the parking deck; so helping design that, pouring the concrete panels, even pouring the bricks into the concrete panels. So everything is ready to go as soon as it comes off the truck. Over the next few weeks, you'll start to see those individual pieces from that parking deck coming onto the site and arriving in [crosstalk 00:01:40].

    Dave Blanks: How big are they? Those must be really big trucks.

    Matt Dull: They'll be really big trucks.

    Dave Blanks: Like semis?

    Matt Dull: Yes, semitrucks, probably from front to end, around 100 feet long trucks with each one of these panels, probably going to be about 10 to 12 of those trucks a day. That's what the contractor is estimating for us. They'll be bringing those panels up the mountain, bringing them on-site. They will be craned off the trailers of the trucks and actually installed same day. It will look like a parking deck over the next six to eight weeks, so it should be pretty exciting on campus as students are wrapping up classes and moving into exams and graduation. That parking deck will be coming up out of the ground and really be finalized over the summer. Hopefully when students are back here this fall, and as we start football season this fall, that parking deck will be operational with 477 parking spaces.

    Dave Blanks: Fantastic. Well, what else, Matt Dull?

    Matt Dull: This weather has been awesome. It has really allowed us to move a lot of the project forward. So moving over to that building 100 and building 200 site, site work continues. So several more weeks of moving fill around on the site to get each one of those building pads ready to get to the right elevation to start that foundation work. That's been happening over the past few weeks, will continue to happen over the next three to four weeks.

    Matt Dull: The building site for building 300 — we're finishing up with the different elevations and grading it to the appropriate final elevation to start the building pads, start putting in foundations. Building 200 is actually at its final elevation, so they are beginning over the past few weeks and will continue over the next few weeks, installing what we call geopiers. That's the substructure of those foundations that are kind of deep earth piers to hold up the building, as well as the actual foundations and forming those, putting rebar in, and pouring concrete and building those foundations for the building. That actually will begin this week.

    Matt Dull: So doing some foundation work for building 200 this week, and then in the next several weeks, we'll be able to start the foundation work for building 100. A lot of site utility work that's happening there, so at the same time trying to build these building pads where you're going to put these buildings, putting in things like our deep stormwater drains, to be able to pull stormwater off the site. Our steam line will begin, and kind of towards the end of April, some installation of the steam line, installation of the domestic water, fire lines; so all of these underground utilities are getting ready to start, if they haven't started already, over the next few weeks. That way, we've got all of the stuff below the ground taken care of before we start building up.

    Dave Blanks: When we were talking to Jeremy in the last podcast, he said the steam line, which runs down Jack Branch, that's another company that's doing that, right?

    Matt Dull: That's right. That's a separate project that's a project that will be performed by a different company, but has to coordinate with everything we're doing not only on the housing side, but also over on the north end zone athletics project as well. There's three contractors really kind of navigating this one site.

    Dave Blanks: A lot of collaboration going on.

    Matt Dull: A lot of collaboration going on. It has to, to be able to get all of this done on time and on schedule.

    Dave Blanks: All right. So what else, Matt? Anything else?

    Matt Dull: Just some other smaller things will be happening over the next few weeks that will be starting this week and going into mid-April. One of those is site retaining walls. So retaining walls throughout the site, again, to really get everything ready to be able to start construction above the ground as we move into the summer months, so we can start some of the above-ground construction. So really just trying to get the building sites ready for constructing these residence halls as we transition into the summer months.

    Dave Blanks: Sounds good. One thing I did notice is that the field house is now down. That's not really your specialty, but I think maybe in a future episode we might, just in the same way we got Jeremy Doss in from RISE to discuss their company, maybe we can get somebody from sports or from that side to talk about the construction of the north end zone project.

    Matt Dull: Yeah. I think it would be great to have someone from Athletics …

    Dave Blanks: We will cover that, definitely.

    Matt Dull: … and that team to really talk about the future of that site.

    Dave Blanks: Right.

    Matt Dull: Real exciting updates on that end.

    Dave Blanks: Any other updates on the housing project?

    Matt Dull: I think one last update. We've already begun thinking about the next phase of the project. It seems a little far out to be thinking about, but building 300 is that next building we'll start, so we've begun the design process for building 300. We're taking the conceptual design from that master plan that RISE developed for the site and the bidding process.

    Dave Blanks: Right. They had to submit that.

    Matt Dull: That's right. They had to submit kind of an overall master plan for what this is going to look like over the next four years.

    Dave Blanks: But it's kind of a flex subject to change potentially.

    Matt Dull: Absolutely. Now it's the time to really start looking into the building. So with this building footprint, really, how many apartment units, how many suite-style units we want to put in there, how much common space, kitchen space, lounges, study rooms. Now we're in the phase of really figuring out what we want in that building. So it's really exciting. We've been able to really think about where we ended up with building 100 and 200, and then how do we take what we've learned from those first two buildings and apply it to building 300. Then, hopefully, what we've learned from 100, 200 and 300, we'll apply to building 400 next year when we start the design process for that building.

    Matt Dull: It's really exciting to be able to apply lessons learned to future parts of this project. So we're really excited to start designing this next building, and it started a few weeks ago, and we'll continue the design process throughout the rest of the calendar year 2019, so we can start construction on that building in 2020.

    Dave Blanks: It'll be here before we know it.

    Matt Dull: It will be here before we know it.

    Dave Blanks: Matt, thanks so much for coming by. I don't mean to cut you off. Were there anymore updates?

    Matt Dull: No, you're great.

    Dave Blanks: Well, then, thanks.

    Matt Dull: Yeah, absolutely.

    Dave Blanks: We'll see you next week, Matt.

    Matt Dull: Sounds good.