May 3, 2018
May 2, 2018
Project Linus blankets go to sick children or those facing hardship.
Named after the beloved, blanket-carrying character from the “Peanuts” comic strip, Project Linus does real-life work that improves the lives of children facing hardship.
Tucson Chapter Coordinator Rene Lassise said her group has a database of around 300 volunteers who make blankets and drop them off or pick them up and quality check them at collection sites around the city. One of those locations is Sundt’s Tucson office; the company lends space to the organization once a month.
Project Linus gives blankets to facilities and nonprofits that distribute them based on need.
“Our blankets are delivered once a month to hospitals, clinics, the DCS/foster care facilities, Ronald McDonald House, Emerge!, Blake Foundation/Easter Seals, etc.,” Rene said. “We try to fill the needs at the hospitals and clinics first, getting blankets to the neediest children.”
Project Linus’ national organization estimates purchasing the material to make a blanket costs $20. The Tucson chapter also accepts donations of new, clean yarn and fabric. By mixing donations with new materials, Rene is able to make kits available to groups and individuals to turn into blankets.
Volunteers from the Tucson chapter made 6,800 blankets last year. A $2,000 grant from the Sundt Foundation is helping the organization supplement what it has and keeps volunteers from having to dig as deep in their pockets to pay for supplies. In a sign of gratitude, the organization made a blanket with Sundt’s logo on it that hangs in the Tucson office’s lobby.
“Our organization needs these blankets for the children all the time, 365 days of the year. It isn’t a one-time event,” Rene said. “The grant from the Sundt Foundation enables me to have the materials available for the volunteers to make the blankets.”
Rene said her chapter receives numerous cards and letters from blanket recipients. She has almost five scrapbooks filled with thank-you notes.
“I have one story from a young lady I met at the University of Arizona during one of our events on campus,” Rene said. “She was a senior and getting ready to graduate that spring. When she was 15, she attempted suicide. While in the hospital, she was given a Linus blanket. She said she realized the world is full of caring people and she still had her blanket in the dorm room with her.”
This is part of a series of blogs about the positive impacts made by the Sundt Foundation.
January 30, 2018
Four buildings will be connected to form the Student Success District at the University of Arizona.
When the University of Arizona’s Class of 2018 comes back to campus in a couple of years, many graduates won’t recognize some corners of campus.
The biggest change is coming thanks to evolving trends in education and retention that have led UA officials to develop the Student Success District concept. The project we’re performing includes four buildings and eight user groups, all with the goal of making students more comfortable and more likely to graduate.
Bear Down Gym, built in 1926, will join the Main Library, Science Library and new Student Success Building to comprise the district. The facilities will be linked by canopies, walkways and bridges on what will be our 60th project for the university, creating a campus core that includes the best of the university’s academics, research, student support and success services.
Here’s a little of what lucky students will experience starting in 2020.
Everyone will like it a latte: The district will have collaborative work areas, tutoring spaces, classrooms, retail spots, restaurants and even workout rooms. Study, get a warm drink and try hot yoga.
The great outdoors is coming inside: We’re turning brick walls into glass, bringing the elements indoors to make the facilities more comfortable and relaxing for students and staff. Like most modern corporate campuses, the Success District reflects how students best function on school campuses.
There’s room for more: Construction will take place over two phases. The Main Library and Student Success Building will be worked on first followed by Bear Down Gym and the Science Library. The project scope could grow again. The three-story Student Success Building could become four stories as other user groups are showing interest, bringing more students into the fold.
January 26, 2018
The University of Arizona Biomedical Sciences Partnership won in ENR’s Higher Education/Research Project category.
Our work on the Biomedical Sciences Partnership Building in Downtown Phoenix is among the Best of the Best from 2017, according to judging by Engineering News-Record.
The 10-story building for the University of Arizona won in the Higher Education/Research Project category. The facility is home to collaborative research in neurosciences, healthcare outcomes, cancer and medicine. Research performed in the building is expected to lead to groundbreaking discoveries with a direct impact on public health.
“It’s an urban medical research facility built on the principle of interdisciplinary work,” Ryan Abbott, who leads the Southwest District of our Building Group. “It’s in exactly the right location. We’re a knowledge economy based on life science.”
This announcement comes as the culmination of a nearly year-long effort by dozens of industry judges and the ENR editorial team to identify the pinnacle of design and construction achievement in the U.S. among projects completed between May 2016 and May 2017.
The competition began last March with a call for entries, which resulted in approximately 700 industry project teams submitting their work to the regional Best Projects competitions. In each of the 10 regions, editors assembled panels of judges to select the regional winners in 20 categories.
Once regional winners were chosen, they moved to the national competition. A new set of judges from across the country and all walks of the industry examined each project in an effort to distinguish the best from the best in teamwork, safety, overcoming challenges, innovation and quality.
The projects and judges will be featured in more depth in the March 5 issue of ENR. Also in that issue, the editors of ENR, in collaboration with the judges, will select one project from the Best of the Best group as the Project of the Year, which will be revealed in the issue.
December 20, 2017
Sundt Business Development Representative Sarah Philippe.
Business Development Representative Sarah Philippe comes to Sundt with a unique background in event planning and nonprofit development. She graduated from the University of Arizona Eller College of Management and lives in Phoenix.
Sarah will be responsible for supporting the Southwest District’s Building Group by creating opportunities for Project Executives, Project Directors and Regional Directors to engage with potential clients.
What inspired you to work for Sundt?
Two years ago, I was working for the American Cancer Society and had the privilege of meeting Dave Crawford, the Sundt CEO at the time. Dave was a member of the CEOs Against Cancer Group and was the driver behind the Big Dig in the Desert, an event where pediatric cancer patients, their families and the community could forget about cancer for a day and operate heavy construction equipment. We had monthly committee meetings at the Sundt office and I met amazing people in that time. One thing led to another and here I am! It was truly the amazing people I met along the way who inspired me to work for Sundt.
Did you ever think you would join the construction industry?
Plain and simple: No. I knew my dream job was out there. The key for me has always been working in an environment where the people were inspiring. I can already sense that culture here at Sundt. So maybe it was always meant to be.
What have you learned in these first few weeks?
Wow, where do I begin? I’ve learned what a “bidget” is … not a real word but a commonly used term in our Building Group meetings. I’ve been keeping a journal of all the abbreviations and acronyms I need to master. I have a lot to learn coming from a non-construction background, and this team is overwhelmingly supportive and willing to help. I am very grateful.
Where are your favorite places to travel?
I’ve been blessed to travel around the world quite a bit. Some of my favorite places were Jerusalem, Berlin, Paris and Amsterdam.
If you could only have one kind of cuisine the rest of your life, what would it be?
Grilled cheese sandwich and French fries.
What’s your favorite movie?
Favorite movie is “You’ve Got Mail” or just about any movie with Julia Roberts in it.
Part of our work on the University of Arizona Student Success District is a new entry to the Main Library.
Our 60th project for the University of Arizona will be among our most impactful.
Next year, we are breaking ground on the Student Success District in Tucson. The intent of creating the district is to improve student success through direct connections among student services, academic support and amenities in the heart of campus. The district will bring together student counseling, tutoring, course selection, assistance with their majors, aligning internships, coaching and facilitating job interviews and health and wellness.
“The Student Success District is a big push by the University to engage every student on campus,” said Sundt Project Director David Ollanik. “It’s an effort to engage them and provide resources they need to be successful in their time at the University and prepare them to enter the workforce.”
The work includes:
- renovations to Bear Down Gym;
- a new Student Success Building adjacent to Bear Down;
- renovations and entry addition to the Main Library;
- renovations to the Science-Engineering Library;
- redevelopment of adjacent exterior areas into student-focused outdoor environments;
- new links among the buildings.
The project includes two phases. Phase One will be the new Student Success Building and an addition to and remodeling portions of the Main Library. The Student Success Building will be located on the south side of Bear Down Gym and will house student support services. Phase Two will include renovations to Bear Down as well as improvements to the Science Library and open space between Bear Down and the library buildings.
The Student Success District is all about the future and helping young leaders earn their degrees. Our history with the UA is strong dating back to 1936 when we built the ROTC stables on campus.
“The University of Arizona is our University,” said Sundt Vice President and Regional Director Ian McDowell. “It has been since we moved our company to Tucson in 1929. The people who live and work at Sundt in Tucson have educated their families for nearly a century at this institution, so we are very grateful to be a part of future success on campus.”