February 22, 2012
February 10, 2012
The Mary Belle McCorkle Academy of Excellence in Tucson emphasizes "21st Century Learning." It opened last August.
The new Mary Belle McCorkle Academy of Excellence in Tucson is a project that encourages creative thinking from the students who use it as well as the team that built it. That’s because the K-8 school’s design reflects the tenets of “21st Century Learning,” a contemporary educational approach that emphasizes skills such as critical thinking, problem-solving, collaboration, adaptability, effective communication, curiosity and imagination.
Sundt’s $22 million Construction Manager at Risk contract was for construction of seven buildings on the 25-acre site, as well as off-site improvement work that included a new, signalized traffic intersection. The project team is pursuing LEED Silver certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.
The facility is highly flexible, with classrooms, called ‘studios,’ organized into community buildings that contain various age groups. If you’re imagining a typical school organized around long, lonely hallways, think again. There are no interior corridors. Instead, the central spines of the community buildings are break-out spaces where students in different grades work together on projects.
“The project’s flexibility was challenging from a construction standpoint because the seven buildings aren’t typical, box-like structures and are extremely articulated in their design,” says Senior Project Manager Kevin Almquist. “In fact, the project contains relatively few 90 degree corners, which made the layout and construction work pretty challenging.”
The bottom line, he says, is that “in building an educational facility that encourages creative thinking, we’ve learned a thing or two as well.” The school opened last August.
August 12, 2011
The University of California, Davis Graduate School of Management - built by Sundt - won the 2011 National Design-Build Excellence Award for Educational Facilities.
Even people who don’t know much about construction can tell you the traditional way to build a project: Hire an architect to draw up the plans, solicit bids from contractors, then select the one with the lowest price. That method, called Design-Bid-Build, is still widely used, but it’s no longer the only option out there – nor is it the best approach for many kinds of projects.
Owners today have a number of approaches to choose from, such as Design-Build, Construction Manager at Risk, Lease-Leaseback and others. These alternate project delivery methods often foster greater creativity and collaboration between the architect, owner, contractor, and subcontractors, and they can result in bigger, better projects – built faster and for less money than was originally budgeted.
How? Alternate project delivery methods consider a number of factors, beyond price alone, during contractor selection – factors such as qualifications and experience. And whereas the traditional Design-Bid-Build process separates design and construction, alternate project delivery methods involve the contractor early in the project, often before design even begins. This way they can use their experience and specialized knowledge to help shape the project from its inception, rather than during construction – a costly process that can frustrate owners. Another advantage: Design-Build provides a single point of responsibility for the entire project, allowing the owner to deal with one entity rather than each one separately.
Sundt is a leader in the use of alternate project delivery methods, to the extent that we played an instrumental role in changing Arizona’s procurement laws for public projects. Our CEO, Dave Crawford, was an active participant in the drafting, lobbying, education and passage of House Bill 2340, the legislation permitting alternative project delivery methods for public construction in the state of Arizona. Passage of this bill was effective August 15, 2000, enabling public owners to determine the best delivery method to achieve their quality, value and schedule objectives. Dave is also past president of the Design-Build Institute of America.
Break room in the Richard E. Arnason Justice Center, also known as the East Contra Costa Courthouse
The recently completed Richard E. Arnason Justice Center is a testament to the benefits of alternative project delivery methods, particularly when it comes to building complex projects. The $42 million courthouse facility included a number of challenges that Sundt was able to navigate successfully, thanks to the flexibility and innovation inherent in the Construction Manager at Risk (CM at Risk) approach. The three-story, 73,500-square-foot facility includes seven courtrooms, judges’ chambers, administrative space, a library, conference rooms, and in-custody detention areas. The project is located in the City of Pittsburg, Calif., roughly halfway between San Francisco and Sacramento.