August 23, 2017
August 18, 2017
Sundt Project Director Joe Riccillo, HACEP Chairman of the Board of Commissioners Burt Blacksher, HACEP CEO Gerald Cichon and HUD Regional Administrator Beth Van Duyne tour our affordable housing work site in El Paso.
In an arrangement that could be the future of the industry, the Housing Authority of the City of El Paso (HACEP) is making renovations to units it owns and manages. Typically, HUD owns affordable housing units and local authorities run them.
Using the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program, HACEP is moving forward on its own schedule in making renovations and reconstruction on all 6,400 residential units throughout its portfolio. HACEP is able to leverage the property and its guaranteed occupancy rates with private money, financing and tax credits to run an enterprise that stays out of debt.
Some of the work is being performed by Sundt Construction. We are renovating or constructing 1,200 combined high-rise and low-rise apartments.
“There’s a lot of interest nationally about what’s going on in El Paso because HACEP made a full conversion and they’re in the black (financially),” said Project Director Joe Riccillo.
HACEP officials are meeting with their counterparts in Baltimore and Chicago to help improve affordable housing there. Our development in El Paso also received a visit from HUD Regional Administrator Beth Van Duyne last month.
“She wanted to see first-hand what was going on … what the issues were with regulations and what could be done to help affordable housing programs across the country,” Joe said.
HACEP’s use of tax credits requires that work must be complete in two years, from design to completion. If deadlines are not met, the organization faces HUD penalties for every resident who is late moving back into his or her home.
“We’ve made a commitment to HACEP that we will complete this development according to schedule,” said Project Manager Fred Briscoe. “We’ll do everything we have to do to keep that promise.”
July 12, 2017
Sundt Senior Estimator Rudy Barba.
Senior Estimator Rudy Barba recently joined Sundt in our El Paso office, bringing 27 years of experience in commercial estimating. He provides preconstruction support and builds relationships with clients, their design teams and subcontractors.
Rudy grew up following his dad, a superintendent, around jobsites, and began his career in trade roles including laborer, carpenter, ironworker and rod buster. He earned his bachelor’s in civil engineering from the University of Texas at El Paso.
He is a Certified Professional Estimator and president of El Paso Chapter 40, American Society of Professional Estimators.
What have you been doing in your first few weeks with Sundt?
My first few weeks have been spent in ongoing learning and training of Sundt procedures and systems. I have taken part in two hard bid proposals. In El Paso, I have been heavily involved helping finalize subcontract awards. For future opportunities, we are meeting with the City of El Paso on a soon-to-be-signed contract. There is also a private owner/developer we are meeting with on a future mixed-use project.
We have a lot of work going in El Paso. How busy has this been keeping you?
I am very busy and look to be that way for the next few years helping procure and maintain cost control on projects. It is very exciting and being so busy helps keep me out of trouble.
How much does your knowledge of the local market help you do your job?
Knowing the El Paso market is crucial to being able to generate accurate budgets and estimates. I believe it has and will continue to add to our preconstruction team’s ability to procure more work in this region. It is also very good that the local owners, subcontractors and suppliers know they have a good, trustworthy, in-town team that is readily available to speak on a face-to-face daily basis.
What was the most important thing you learned from your dad?
The most important lessons I learned from my dad are God-first, not only to always ask for his help but never forget to thank him for everything. Trials and success, all are a blessing. You love doing for others at work, in the family, for the church, for friends and the community. In everything he did, he gave a small blessing with the sign of the cross saying, “En el nombre de Dios,” which translates to “In the name of God.” He taught always to learn, to always be better than yourself the day before and to pass/teach your knowledge to others.
What are your favorite things to do away from work?
Be with family or friends making new memories and reminiscing. I enjoy being a band booster and roadie for my youngest son Gabriel’s Jefferson Silva High School Marching Band. I also enjoying working out at the gym and someday will make time for my favorite pastimes: playing golf and fishing.
May 17, 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.
April 25, 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.
Families stay at the Reynolds Home in El Paso for an average of four to six months.
For the past 26 years, Reynolds Home in El Paso has provided a safe refuge for women and their families who are homeless or escaping physical abuse. Most of that time, the shelter survived on volunteer work from a caring community to keep the doors open.
With the need for their services increasing, contributions from the private sector, including $1,825 from the Sundt Foundation, enabled Reynolds Home to hire staff and double the size of the shelter.
“The cost of running a shelter is high,” said Reynolds Home Director Dorothy Truax. “We’re always looking for options. It’s very limited. We need a lot of support from all over.”
The facility is busy, with 13 to 16 moms and up to 35 children staying there an average of four to six months. Reynolds Home is one of three similar shelters in El Paso. Dorothy said roughly half the families who enter Reynolds are escaping domestic violence. El Paso is among the top five counties in Texas for most domestic violence deaths.
Reynolds staff members, called Family Workers, go beyond providing shelter and meals for the families. They take women who often have very little education or work experience and help them find jobs and homes.
“When they come in, many women feel like they can’t make it on their own,” Dorothy said. “They prove they can take care of themselves and their kids.”
It takes a team effort to help these women and their families regain their independence. Family Workers get to see inspirational stories firsthand as women and their families go from frightened and unsure to confident and independent.
“The change from when a mom first comes in to when she leaves is tremendous,” Dorothy said. “Regaining belief in herself is just part of it. We have moms who come back to visit 20 years after staying here.”
This is the third in a series of stories about non-profit organizations that were supported by the Sundt Foundation in 2016. The articles will appear on our blog on Tuesdays through May 23.
April 11: Project Healing Waters
April 18: Restore Education