January 24, 2018
December 18, 2017
We’re turning a former parking lot into 407 residences with numerous amenities in Tempe, Arizona.
It’s a unique project that had us transition from landowner to builder. Few things about Union Tempe Apartments, being built on the site of a former parking lot, will be commonplace for Arizona when the project is finished in July.
We owned the land, located not far from our headquarters in Tempe, for several years before selling it to the developer, The Opus Group. Opus is a family of commercial real estate development, construction and design companies headquartered in Minneapolis with offices and projects across the country.
The 407 residences will “expand the downtown Tempe community to be more walkable, bike-friendly and economically diverse,” said Ryan Abbott, our Southwest District Building Group Manager.
Residents will have top-of-the-line amenities including a shared fifth-floor deck with a resort-style swimming pool, grilling area and outdoor lounges with cabanas and fire pits. There will also be a fitness center, dog walk and storage for more than 450 bikes.
The project will cover a city block and feature two towers, one 20 stories and the other 12. The first will have primarily studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments. The second will have 22 walk-up city homes and flats wrapping the first four stories. The building includes more than 31,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space.
We self-performed the concrete work, which helped in numerous ways. It gave us better control over quality and schedule and further honed our capabilities of constructing quality high-rise buildings. The teams building both towers often held a friendly competition to see which side could complete its work faster.
“Any project of this size brings complexity and I have appreciated Sundt’s willingness to plan, execute and problem-solve along the way,” said Opus Group Senior Vice President Lawrence Pobuda. “Most importantly, we have developed a real rapport – based on open communication and shared vision. We look forward to delivering this project on time, and on budget, and we feel confident we will do that with Sundt by our side.”
September 6, 2017
A welding student works on a project at Central Arizona College.
We’re cementing our relationship with Central Arizona College with donations that will expand training opportunities for construction and concrete technology program students.
To complement our workforce development partnership, we are covering costs to pour 320 cubic yards of concrete for a 142-foot-by-92-foot pad. Students in the heavy equipment operator program will begin leveling and grading the area this spring and construction technology students will build the concrete forms. The pad should be complete by fall 2018.
“This will provide students with valuable hands-on experience that will benefit them in their careers,” said Sundt Craft Instructor Darry Welker.
In another support of the partnership, we donated to the heavy equipment operator program for the purchase of GPS equipment. We also have given tools and supplies to the construction technology program.
“We appreciate all that Sundt is doing to help expand programming and training opportunities for CAC students,” Agriculture and Advanced Technology Division Chair Kristen Benedict said.
We are teaming with CAC and have established our own Center for Craft Excellence to help offset a lack of skilled craft workers needed to build our nation’s projects. An Associated General Contractors of America survey finds that construction companies will be short 2 million craft professionals by the year 2020.
July 12, 2017
Our work at the Wichita Falls Independent School District’s Career and Technical Education Center was similar to three projects we performed in San Antonio.
When officials cut the ribbon to open the Wichita Falls Independent School District’s Career and Technical Education Center last month, it marked the end of nearly two years of challenges faced and successes gained by the Sundt joint-venture team.
The 123,000-square-foot facility houses programs that prepare high school students for college or careers by offering advanced skills, certification, college credits and the ability to explore their futures from the comfort of high school. The building opened in time for the new school year.
Our team’s experience constructing similar facilities in San Antonio helped pave the way for a successful project. We previously improved Brackenridge, Burbank and Lanier high schools in the city by adding career and technical education (CTE) centers while the campuses were in use, just like Wichita Falls.
“(Project Engineer) Tyler Persyn and I worked together on the CTE centers in San Antonio,” said Project Manager David Musch. “We have a great working relationship based on trust and respect. As a whole, our onsite team, including my Superintendent, Project Engineer, Field Superintendent and our local JV partner, Trinity Hughes, were invaluable to our success.”
Owner savings on the $30 million project began during preconstruction.
“At GMP, we value-engineered $3 million out of the project and did not impact any of the programs slated for the Career Education Center,” David said. “We also came up with an AV package redesign that gave the district an LED wall that will be the focal point in the main corridor of the building.”
Wichita’s notoriously fickle weather affected the tight schedule, made more difficult when the district adopted a school calendar that cut 10 days off the end of the construction schedule. The team lost two months because of extreme weather and rain delays at the beginning of the work in late 2015.
“We drilled all our piers for the foundation of the building off of crane mats and established a temporary lime-stabilized access road in order to get the foundation started,” David said. “Our team worked seven days a week for 12-plus hours a day, plus night shifts for months, to overcome the challenges we faced.”
July 6, 2017
Sundt’s GO 10 project involves improvements to Interstate 10 in El Paso.
A U.S. Census Study last year showed Texas is the fastest-growing state in the country, adding an average of 1,183 residents each day. The need to keep up with infrastructure demand has the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) managing and providing more than $7 billion a year in transportation projects.
Sundt is performing one of those projects, GO 10 on the west side of El Paso. It extends 5.75 miles of Interstate 10 and includes construction of collector-distributor lanes through the corridor, improvement of I-10’s direct connection with Paisano Drive/Border West Expressway, addition of lanes to the interstate in both directions and reconfiguration of ramps and overpasses at three exits.
The project team is working at the most complex portions of the job on the project’s critical path. This work is key to meeting the goal of completing the project in December 2018, six months ahead of schedule.
“Each of these critical locations represents all of our trades simultaneously erecting bridge interchanges, installing retaining walls, connecting underground utilities and performing roadway grading operations,” Project Director Jason Esparza said.
The project team plans on resuming concrete paving by the end of July in an effort to finish nearly 40,000 square yards of the new collector-distributor lanes. Work is also being installed by subcontractors, including electrical infrastructure, asphalt pavement and steel girders.
The team set the stage for success by performing value engineering during the construction phase on the concrete paving. Substituting 9-inch pavement and eliminating 12-inch pavement on the widening of the I-10 main lanes created significant savings for TxDOT and us. The team also helped prioritize right-of-way acquisitions to open more work earlier for our crews.
“This approach allowed us to work in areas ahead of schedule,” Jason said.
Jonathan Graham with his wife, Dana, and their 1-year-old daughter, Hadley, at a fireworks show in Heber, Arizona this week.
He’s known as “Unicorn” on Sundt’s University Square job site in Tempe, Arizona. The mythical name came about because Jonathan Graham’s safety badge features a photo of his 1-year-old daughter wearing a unicorn hat.
But the nickname could easily apply to Jonathan himself. Earlier this year, he made the unusual move of going from an office job, complete with air conditioning, to a construction site. He’s part of our concrete crew as a lead man form carpenter.
While he says he’s always been mechanically inclined, Jonathan’s career change was met with some skepticism. After all, it meant working outdoors in Tempe during the hottest time of year. Temperatures in June topped 120 degrees.
“The consensus was that I was crazy to do concrete work in the summer in Arizona,” said Jonathan, who has been married six years. “My family understood and they know the type of person I am.”
Jonathan’s path to Sundt started by working in sales for a social media and digital engagement company in Scottsdale. That’s where he met Jerrin Jaramillo, who’s now a Sundt recruiter. After leaving that company, Jerrin stayed in touch with Jonathan and encouraged him to apply at Sundt. Jonathan eventually did and started here this past February.
“(Jerrin) talked very highly about Sundt and the ESOP,” said Jonathan, who has a degree in business communications from Arizona State University. “I wanted to get back in the trades and use my degree in a different way.”
Jonathan’s father was a sheet metal worker in Michigan, so he grew up around the trades. When Jonathan moved to Arizona in 2007, he did facilities maintenance work for nine United Blood Systems buildings.
A move back to an office environment wasn’t what he wanted in the long run.
“When I got back in the office, I realized it wasn’t for me,” he said. “I didn’t want to sit in a cubicle and be attached to a phone.”
Getting back in the field has had its health advantages. Freed from cubicle life, Jonathan is feeling healthier than ever after “getting away from sodas and doughnuts.”
“Physically, it’s been kind of crazy,” he said. “I’ve lost 45 pounds. It’s good for me.”
He’s seen University Square, a residential and mixed-use development, go from the ground up. In late June, the crew was setting concrete on the sixth floor.
“Every day I come to work, something’s different, the site has changed, the building is growing,” Jonathan said.
Part of the draw of returning to craft work was a good change of pace: No sales calls, no boring meetings and plenty of pride in his work.
He also hopes to work his way up in the organization and there’s plenty of history of that at Sundt. Our two most recent President/CEOs started their careers as craft workers.
“I want to climb the ranks and become a foreman and supervisor,” he said. “I’m a totally different person than I was when I started.”
This blog is part of our series of posts about career-related subjects. For more information about opportunities with Sundt, please follow us on Twitter or visit our website.