May 31, 2017
March 8, 2017
A rendering of the future Comal County Jail in New Braunfels, Texas.
Sundt Preconstruction Manager Jon McKelvain isn’t afraid to go behind bars in the name of research and providing client value.
As we start preconstruction on the $62.3 million Comal County Jail in New Braunfels, Texas, Jon and his counterpart from our joint-venture partner recently toured the Smith County Jail in Tyler, Texas. Unlike most people there, he only stuck around for a few hours.
Sundt Preconstruction Manager Jon McKelvain.
The purpose was to explore the possibilities of replacing the current cell design with a prefabricated all-steel modular cell. Modular cells improve quality and schedule because they are a “plug-and-play” setup. All plumbing and fixtures are in the cell from the manufacturer and are stacked on top of each other to build the housing area for each pod. The only concrete masonry work that has to be done is the wall for the day room.
The Smith County visit included a walk-through of cell configuration, day room and recreation yard layouts and mechanical, electrical and plumbing requirements for the prefab cells.
“The tour assisted us in furthering our understanding of the requirements of the prefab cells, and we are conducting a cost and schedule impact analysis for the owner based on lessons learned,” Jon said.
The team is planning to tour the Lubbock County Jail in West Texas in July. Yates Construction, our JV partner on the Comal project, built the Lubbock facility. We’ve also met with a San Antonio manufacturer of locks and equipment.
“Being an expert in the detention market means being knowledgeable about all the latest design trends, detention equipment and security electronics hardware. This ensures we bring added value to our owner’s detention needs,” said Sundt Senior Vice President and Texas District Manager Eric Hedlund.
We have a long and successful history of criminal justice projects, including jails, prisons and courthouses. Our work on the San Bernardino Juvenile Detention and Assessment Facility in California earned the 2011 Design-Build Institute of America’s Western Pacific Region Design Build Award for Best Correctional Facility. Our John M. Roll Courthouse project in Yuma, Arizona won a Design-Build Institute National Merit Award.
March 1, 2017
A chihuahua tries on a hard hat at the groundbreaking for the Pima County Animal Care Center.
When the Pima County Animal Care Center was built in Tucson in 1968, the region’s population was around 300,000. The county has since climbed to more than a million residents and accompanying that growth has been a dire need for a larger center for stray and abandoned pets.
The original center was built to accommodate 300 dogs and 100 cats at a time. Staff takes in about 400 animals a week and has around 800 on site at any time. In 2016, staff at the center provided care for more than 24,000 animals.
The new cat adoption area will be three times the size of the current one.
Recent demand for services caused Pima County to put up a temporary tent shelter adjacent to the animal care center but stopgap measures are about to change. Last month, Sundt started work on a new larger Pima County Animal Care Center that will meet the region’s needs and provide the best possible care for its occupants.
“Our team is pleased to help PACC in modernizing and improving its facilities. PACC will be able to give the animals the space they need to thrive while waiting for permanent homes,” said Sundt Project Director David Ollanik.
Early work includes installing utility trenches and constructing the new facility’s foundation.
When completed, the shelter will more than double the size of the existing facility; the cat area will grow to three times the space set aside in the current building. The new facility will also have improved natural light and ventilation.
The first phase of the project, which will open in December, includes a larger veterinary clinic, a recovery area for pets that receive medical treatment, and administrative offices. During the second phase, which should be complete in fall 2018, the existing building will be partially razed and remodeled.
January 23, 2017
Works gets started on Sundt’s $33 million project fir the Housing Authority of the City of El Paso.
Affordable housing in West Texas is getting a helping hand from Sundt’s $33 million project for the Housing Authority of the City of El Paso (HACEP).
We’ve started work on reconstruction of the Sherman Community as part of HACEP’s overall $1 billion initiative to revitalize El Paso’s affordable housing communities. The Sherman Apartments were built in 1953 and are one of the larger communities in HACEP’s portfolio.
Sherman-North will be a full reconstruction that will include demolition of 21 low-rise buildings. Once rebuilt, the project will contain 178 units. Westfall is going from nine units to 90. The week before Thanksgiving, the project team purchased and delivered turkeys to 161 families in both complexes who had to be relocated before the new work began.
The reconstruction of Sherman-North is part of HACEP’s project to revitalize all affordable housing communities in its portfolio through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Rental Assistance Demonstration program. Nearly 6,000 of HACEP’s homes in El Paso are being revitalized.
Once construction is complete by the end of the year, the community will have playgrounds, an athletics court and picnic areas.
January 11, 2017
Sundt President & CEO Mike Hoover.
Sundt President & CEO Mike Hoover was recently interviewed by National Public Radio about one of our country’s hottest topics: a proposed border wall between the U.S. and Mexico.
We have done similar work, building around 100 miles of fencing along the Arizona and California borders with Mexico in the mid-2000s. The work was tough. The story reports that in one stretch near Yuma, Arizona, the soil was so soft we had to tow equipment in with bulldozers. In some places, we had to blast through solid rock to set fence panels. Summertime work was done in conditions regularly topping 100 degrees.
Mike said the company would be interested in working on border projects if they move forward.
Our “secret city” in Los Alamos, New Mexico started construction almost 75 years ago.
Almost 75 years ago, Sundt embarked on a top-secret project that forever changed the world. It started with a handshake agreement, no formal contract and, for just about everyone working on site, no idea what the work was about.
The U.S. government contacted our company on Dec. 1, 1942 looking for a contractor that could essentially construct a community, sometimes referred to as a secret city, in northern New Mexico. The project was so confidential that it was labeled “Job 444” in company records.
We were given a year to build a lab technical area, test site, 332 apartments, 12 civilian dormitories, 12 military barracks, an administration building, warehouses, service and mess facilities, medical and veterinary hospitals and schools.
Government officials wanted 20 percent of housing ready for occupancy by the end of January 1943 and technical buildings done by the beginning of February. Working at an unimaginable pace, we had 96 percent of the project complete by April 1943.
The work was challenging, and the location was remote. Access to the site required construction of a primitive access road that wouldn’t attract curiosity from locals and travelers. The road took its toll on trucks making deliveries and was only improved when government authorities anticipated 40- to 60-ton loads traveling on it as the project progressed.
Our work was complete in 1943, including security fencing, guard towers and gates at what was formerly the Los Alamos Ranch School. The facility and surrounding land were purchased by the U.S. government in November 1942. The school awarded its final diplomas in January 1943, and the Army took control of the property the following month.
In 1945, Sundt officials learned that the site, Los Alamos, was part of the Manhattan Project, which developed science that helped end World War II.
We were invited back to Los Alamos in 2000 to build, among other things, a fast-track emergency flood control project to protect the Los Alamos National Laboratory. The work resulted in a Build America Award for our company. The honor is given by the Associated General Contractors of America to the members who build the nation’s most impressive construction projects.