September 6, 2017
September 1, 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.”
August 31, 2017
Project Manager Wes Hawkins, right, and the team take a flood victim to safety.
After Hurricane Harvey made a second landfall along the Texas coast this past Tuesday, three members of the Sundt team working on the State Highway 31 project in Corsicana, Texas knew it was time to take action.
“We were close to the storm but were only affected on the outside edge,” said Project Manager Josh Bunting. “We saw on the news that the local sheriffs were asking for help.”
Josh teamed with another Project Manager, Wes Hawkins, and Field Superintendent David Gallaway to represent the Corsicana team by making a nearly seven-hour drive to the Beaumont area to help those in need. They took Josh and David’s Ford trucks and David’s brother’s fishing boat.
The men were on their way to Houston but diverted farther northeast when they heard about flooding in Beaumont, near where the storm made landfall in Port Arthur.
“We tried to get in five different ways,” Josh said. “Every way we went there was water.”
Flood waters were running higher than 5 feet in some areas.
They ended up in the nearby community of Vidor, where they used the boat to rescue five people. They also saw devastation they could hardly imagine.
“You see it on TV and it doesn’t put it in perspective,” said Josh, who has worked in Texas for 7 years. “There was water halfway up the windows of houses, tons of flooded cars, churches and schools. People’s belongings were floating in the water.”
The water was so deep – Josh estimated 5 to 6 feet in many areas – that the three men drove the boat to the front door of the first person they helped.
“He had one plastic tub with his belongings in it,” Josh said. “The destruction was unbelievable. There’s just no fixing that.”
Everyone on our Corsicana crew wanted to go along but many had to stay behind to stay up to date on the project. The three who went were part of an armada of concerned people from across the region.
“There were a lot of people out there trying to get people out of their houses,” Josh said. “It was a big area. Even the couple of roads we went up and down was a small percentage of the people who needed help.”
One of the people the team rescued had a family member pick him up near Mauriceville, where the team dropped him off. The others went with volunteers to a church serving as a shelter in Buna. They all had one thing in common: gratitude for the Corsicana crew.
“They were pretty shocked,” Josh said. “One guy didn’t have a phone and didn’t know what had happened the past couple of days. He just knew his house was full of water. They were happy. They couldn’t believe it.”
There are many ways to help victims of the storm. Click here for a few suggestions.
August 30, 2017
There is expected to be a shortfall of two million craft workers by the year 2020.
As Labor Day approaches, the annual Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) Workforce Survey reinforces an industry-wide fact: There is a significant shortage of available craft workers in the United States.
The survey, which received 1,608 responses from AGC members, shows that 70 percent of those companies are already having a hard time filling hourly craft positions. Only nine percent said they aren’t having problems filling positions, which also includes salaried and hourly office and field jobs.
A lack of candidates is especially troublesome since 69 percent of those surveyed said they need to expand their craft hiring in the next 12 months. According to the survey, the five toughest positions to fill are carpenters (58 percent of companies have trouble finding them), bricklayers (53 percent), electricians (53 percent), concrete workers (51 percent) and plumbers (50 percent).
The average age of craft workers is 47. There is expected to be a shortfall of 2 million craft workers by the year 2020.
“At least in the state of Arizona, Career and Technical Education is starting to get a second wind,” Sundt Craft Workforce Development Manager Sean Ray said. “But we’re really far behind. So the work’s going to be there. Are we going to have qualified people is going to be the main question.”
A total of 74 percent of respondents said their local pipelines for supplying well-trained craft personnel were either poor or fair. In the retention category, 43 percent said they use customized learning and development programs to keep the craft workers they have.
Sundt is using several initiatives to attract and retain craft workers, including a partnership with Central Arizona College and training at our Center for Craft Excellence in Phoenix.
For information on a career with Sundt, please visit http://www.sundt.com/careers.
August 29, 2017
Part of the work at Sun Devil Stadium this offseason included the addition of a new weight room.
When Arizona State University’s football team kicks off its season Thursday night, most of the upgrades performed by the Sundt joint-venture team at Sun Devil Stadium during the offseason will have occurred behind the scenes. But the improvements were vital nonetheless.
Our work with Hunt Construction Group this offseason in Tempe consisted of the Student Athletic Facility at the north end of the stadium and build-out of club level suites on the west sideline.
The athletic facility’s first floor includes the main lobby, weight room, loading dock and walk-in freezers. The second floor includes the locker room, plunge pool, hydrotherapy area, players’ lounge, media room, team dining area, Tillman Tunnel (which Arizona State’s players will use to enter the field) and equipment storage. The third floor has coaching staff offices, as well as the new kitchen. The roof, called the Sun Deck, is an extension of the main concourse and will be used as a beer garden on game days and is already known for spectacular views of the stadium and surrounding area.
One big addition that everyone will see is the huge new videoboard in the north end zone. The board measures 5,419 square feet, making it the eighth-largest in college football. Probably not coincidentally, it’s about 150 square feet larger than the one at the football stadium of rival University of Arizona in Tucson.
“The Hunt-Sundt team has done a great job working with us and making all this stuff happen,” Stadium Project Representative Isaac Manning told the Arizona Republic in March. “I’m really confident in their ability to deliver when they say they’re going to deliver and for us to have a natural migration so we’re not panicked and doing stuff at the last minute.”
There’s one more offseason of work to complete. After the coming season, the east side will be demolished and rebuilt, finishing off the $268 million project. The joint-venture team has worked on the stadium for the past three off-seasons.
Sun Devil Stadium was constructed in 1958. The last major renovation was in 1988.
A version of this message from Sundt Chairman of the Board J. Doug Pruitt originally appeared in the Arizona Republic newspaper. Doug’s views reflect those of Sundt Construction, where we believe in the American values of diversity and inclusion.
By J. Doug Pruitt, Sundt Construction Chairman of the Board
J. Doug Pruitt.
I strongly believe that not condemning the actions of the Alt-Right, Neo-Nazis, White Supremacists, the KKK and other like-minded groups is in essence condoning those actions and inciting further violence.
Sundt Construction, where I have spent my entire 51-year career, is headquartered in Arizona, a place that soon will be a minority-majority state. Minorities comprise more than half of Sundt’s total workforce and approximately 75 percent of its skilled craft workforce.
These are good people who get up every day, come to work and are responsible, loyal employees. They are also Americans. They have kids, go to church, coach Little League, pay taxes and lead responsible lives working to make the United States a better country. They deserve our respect, not our disdain.
The march that took place in Charlottesville and the hatred that was shown was disgusting, disgraceful and un-American and should never be tolerated.
President Trump’s response was equally disgraceful and in many ways emboldened the leaders of the groups spewing hatred and instilling fear in minorities, not just in Charlottesville but across America. Those who defended the President should be ashamed.
Congress is an equal branch of government that the President can’t fire. Our Senators and Representatives should set their party politics aside to condemn the President’s actions and those of the hate groups that created the violence and death in Charlottesville.
If we don’t take a stand, we will see more of this spreading across our country because inaction condones this behavior.
Hatred and bigotry are not American and should not be tolerated. We need to come together as people of different races, sexual orientations and religious convictions and stand tall as Americans.
Enough is enough.