Nestled between the Pacific Ocean and redwood forests is the small city of Arcata, California, the home of Sundt’s latest student housing project for Cal Poly Humboldt.
Sundt has worked within the university system for some time, recently completing Cal Poly Pomona student housing in 2020.
When complete by Fall 2025, the project in Arcata will expand University housing options by nearly 50 percent. It also serves as one solution to the housing crisis that California students face. The 964-bed complex will offer apartments, amenities and 328 parking spaces, which are critical in this remote location.
With this in mind, the client is invested in constructing a housing complex that will last 50-plus years without maintenance. As a result, they chose to go with the more expensive concrete construction than its cheaper counterpart, wood.
Being in a location with limited resources, the team is utilizing Sundt’s self-perform concrete capabilities to complete this request. The project team is in the beginning phases of placing what will eventually be 17,000 cubic-yards of concrete.
Keys to Success
“It was a big commitment for our concrete team to come out to this location. We have 20 people from Arizona and six from Texas on site,” said Concrete Project Superintendent Gerardo Lopez. “However, it’s a learning experience, and allows us to hone our skills in a new way. That’s how we keep growing.”
The site is a whopping 16-hour drive from Phoenix and a drastic difference from the desert environment most of the team is accustomed to working in. Surrounded by enormous redwoods and near the ocean, the surrounding area is picturesque, but provides challenging weather conditions.
“The rain came earlier than expected this year,” said Senior Project Manager Shawn Marty. “It created muddy conditions that make laying concrete and trucking materials on and off site difficult.”
The team has solutions in place for the rainy winters this area is known for. Their keys to success were getting the slab on grade in place so they could set tables, paving temporary access roads and putting a tower crane in place. “Now that those key items are completed, we’re ready for the muddy winter ahead,” Shawn said.
With a population of just under 20,000 people, the Sundt team has relied on Arcata’s small business community to keep the project running. “We’ve been putting a lot of people to work who, normally, wouldn’t be working this time of year,” Shawn said. “The local rock quarry is running their crusher 24/7 to keep up with our concrete needs. This is, by far, the biggest project this town has ever seen.”
Along with the quarry, the team is hiring local personnel, using local cranes and rental companies and sourcing materials from “mom and pop shops.” Planning ahead is always a top priority for Gerardo’s team, but they have to consider a week and a half delay for materials on this job. “You can’t run to Home Depot in this town,” he joked.
“I’ve been with Sundt for 23 years,” Shawn said. “I couldn’t imagine not using self-perform concrete for this job. I’m impressed by the planning and detail that goes into our concrete team’s work. Everything they do is top notch.”