June 14, 2017
June 9, 2017
Construction work on the Golden West College Math and Science Building starts next month.
Ceremonial shovels have turned dirt and construction will soon begin on a 120,561-square-foot mathematics and science building at Golden West College in Huntington Beach, California.
Sundt is serving as construction manager on the project, which is scheduled to begin in July. HMC is the architect and the facility is designed to achieve a LEED Silver certification through the USGBC.
The three-story building will include lecture spaces, laboratory space, computer labs and support space for the Math, Biology, Life Science and Physical Science departments. There will be lab spaces for geology, biology, microbiology, zoology, anatomy, physiology, ecology, botany, marine life, physics, chemistry and organic chemistry. There will also be a Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Center for students.
“The new building represents Sundt’s ongoing commitment to enhancing the community college environment, specifically with STEM projects,” said Sundt Vice President and Regional Director John Messick. “More importantly, this is the third project we’ve collaborated on with the Coast Community College District.”
Other projects we have performed for the district are the Orange Coast College Interdisciplinary Complex and Golden West College Student Services Center.
May 24, 2017
Virtual Construction Engineer Frank Garcia is one of our employee-owners who are licensed to fly drones for commercial purposes.
Sundt Virtual Construction Engineer Frank Garcia is one of our company’s first employee-owners to earn his commercial license for drone operations. Using drones at job sites enables us to provide better client value by more efficiently capturing project information.
Frank is putting his drone skills to use on a student housing project at Cal Poly Pomona this month.
How important are drones to the construction industry?
Drones are another tool we can use to solve challenges. While we are figuring out new uses for this technology all the time, every tool has its use. Drones, robotics and technology in general are changing the way we build and think about construction.
In what ways is Sundt using drones to provide client value?
The drones allow us to produce some of the same things we are doing now, just more efficiently. One example is the use of “photogrammetry,” where we take a variety of pictures with the drone from different angles and put them together to generate 3D models. So for a 3D site logistics plan, we can fly the drone and generate 3D models of the surrounding buildings, existing conditions, calculate the grade of the site, etc.
Why is it important for us to operate drones instead of having a vendor do it?
While flying drones is fun, we are flying them for a purpose. We are collecting data that allows us to produce a variety of deliverables. When we fly ourselves, we know what data is critical to capture in the development of our deliverables. There is nothing wrong with using a vendor to operate the drone. We just need to make sure the data we are receiving is viable for our intended use.
How hard are they to fly?
As with anything, there is a bit of a learning curve. Once you get over that it’s fairly easy, depending on the type of weather you are flying in. Some of the drones practically fly themselves. I recommend everyone give it a try; I find it to be really fun. The real challenge is in the preflight work. If you are flying for commercial use (not just for fun) you have to be aware of the airspace you are flying in and, in some cases, need to get Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) clearance. You need to be aware of the type of weather you are flying in as it can affect flight characteristics. Really, you are getting your ducks in a row to fly safely.
What was involved in becoming licensed to operate drones?
Studying! The main hurdle to get over in earning your drone license is passing the FAA written test. The test covers basic drone flight operations, loading and performance, laws and regulations, etc. What I found to be slightly challenging were the questions related to interpreting National Airspace System information (airspace maps), and weather and micrometeorology.
What do you need to do to remain licensed?
I need to pass an aeronautical knowledge test every 24 months.
May 17, 2017
Sundt is building a 158,000-square-foot student housing development at the University of the Pacific.
An expanding population in California has made new student housing a necessity, prompting university systems to find innovative ways to build projects.
One solution gaining traction is Public-Private Partnerships (P3). A P3 is a long-term contract between a public-sector client and a private company or consortium covering the design, construction, maintenance and sometimes financing of a facility, such as our $25.8 million project constructing student housing at the University of the Pacific in Stockton. The project is a partnership between the university and Capstone Development Partners. In this case, the university is providing the financing.
Capstone, a Birmingham, Alabama company, has produced student housing for more than 25 years.
“The university systems in California are embracing the P3 model of project delivery to enable them to meet the housing demand of the student population,” said Sundt Senior Vice President and Building Group Manager Teri Jones. “This new approach will be good for the university systems, their students and the building industry.”
P3s are being used across California, including transportation and public works projects.
“P3s offer several different types of contract options for public entities with a wide range of risk allocations, funding arrangements and transparency requirements not available in traditional delivery methods,” said Sundt Project Manager Steven Bonicatto. “This approach offers useful tools for governments or private entities to achieve their objectives.”
Our team broke ground on the project last August. The new 158,000-square-foot development includes two new four-story buildings consisting of 142 studio, two-bedroom and four-bedroom units that will provide a 381-bed residential community. When complete early next year, the project will transition the approximately four-acre project site into student apartments including more than 15,000 square feet of indoor/outdoor amenities featuring social and study areas and other site improvements.
April 14, 2017
Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso’s new facility will measure more than 87,000 square feet.
Texas Tech University has had a health sciences presence in El Paso for more than 40 years. That pledge to the border city’s population is ratcheting up with construction of Medical Sciences Building II, a facility that will double the campus’ research capacity and add crucial instructional space.
Sundt is serving as the Construction Manager at Risk for the $83 million, 219,900-square-foot project being built for Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso. The university held a ceremonial groundbreaking this month and the facility is scheduled to open in approximately two years.
The facility will have more than 87,000 square feet dedicated to research, including laboratories, offices and research administration. The first floor will house the campus’ largest teaching auditorium – 9,200 square feet for up to 500 people. There will also be a dining and food services area, library, classrooms, study rooms and administration space.
Texas Tech University Health Science Center El Paso is the only health sciences center along the U.S.-Mexico border that provides opportunities on one campus for collaboration among nursing, medical and graduate research students.
Like other campus facilities, the exterior will mirror the architecture of the Spanish Renaissance, distinguished by ornate columns, red-tiled roofs and colossal archways.
Sundt Senior Project Manager Brian DeMartino.
Senior Project Manager Brian DeMartino brings nearly 20 years of experience in the construction industry to his new position with Sundt. He has worked on retail, themed entertainment, dining, housing, offices, manufacturing, recreation, K-12 and higher education projects.
Brian, who is working in our Irvine, California office, has a degree in architectural engineering from the University of Texas and is LEED-Accredited by the U.S. Green Building Council.
What has been the most interesting thing about working for Sundt these first few weeks?
Its people. Construction companies are defined by a few things like values, leadership and technology. But one thing I have learned in my time in the construction industry is that the biggest factor in how a company feels and how it performs are its people. The people I met during the interview process were great – smart, professional, engaging. But I knew it was going to be hard to know how the company as a whole would be until I started to meet everyone on my first day at work. What I have found is a range of tenure – employee-owners who have been at Sundt for decades, some who are new just like me and everything in between, and all of them are driven, friendly and incredibly helpful.
How important was the employee-owner culture when you were considering whether to work at Sundt?
Moving to a company with a strong retirement plan was key. I started my career at an employee-owned company. I transitioned to another company after a few years with the hope that it would eventually offer some kind of retirement benefit but that never developed. So this move for me was targeted at a solid, well-run, well-respected construction company with an ESOP.
What’s your favorite movie?
“The Usual Suspects.” What drew me in when I saw it and what keeps me going back is the depth and variety of the characters. That cast is amazing. But then add in the plot with its twists and the writing and it’s hard to find a better film.
What do you do away from work?
I spend most of my time outside of work with my wife and kids. Having a 12 year old and a 5 year old means full-time playing, homework, sports and after-school events and parties. We like taking road trips as a family. Last year our trips were to Santa Cruz and Monterey on the California coast and Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks in the Sierra Mountains. We are planning our next trip to Yellowstone.