RECENT ARTICLES
  • $32.6M Athletic Complex Gets OK in Orange County, Calif.

    by MARIE EKBERG PADILLA August 2014

    Investment entrepreneur Michael Schwartz of Ladera Ranch has gotten county approval to build a $32.6 million athletic complex on a now-vacant plot of land he bought in 2010.

  • How Facility Location Impacts the Building Process

    by Ralph Agostinelli July 2014

    I’m heading down to Nantucket next week. That’s not unusual. I head down to Nantucket every week, since we’re building a Boys & Girls Club addition there. But doing business on Nantucket is very unusual — and it drives home the message of how construction projects play out in different locations.

    Prospective building owners often assume that you can take a $10 million rec center in one location, plop it down in another location, and it’ll still be a $10 million rec center. Many of them are surprised to hear that a 14-month construction schedule in one place might — with the same program, square footage and materials — be a 16-month job in another. Nantucket is the proof that there is no “normal.”

    The nature of working on an island is that everything costs more and takes longer. This can also be true of other more-remote, rural locations. But Nantucket has other issues, too. Tourism is its primary source of revenue, and it’s seasonal revenue. To protect its tourism interests, there’s a local statute that bars construction within the downtown commercial district during the summer. This not only shortens the construction season to eight and a half months in that area, it eliminates the prime construction season.

    RELATED: Understanding Bids and Specs: Get the Best Value When Building

    The year-round population has doubled since 1980, to around 10,000. The summertime population is 55,000. If you are in an area where construction can proceed during the summer, as our project is, that means transportation snags and bottlenecks, and inevitably higher prices on goods and services. In the winter, weather can wreak its own havoc on transportation, and the availability of on-island labor can drop in sync with the seasonal population drop.

    When we estimate costs on a proposed project, we take all of these things into account — the distance that labor and materials must travel to reach the job site, expected weather patterns, local laws that might impinge on the project, costs associated with different trades or unions, and many other seemingly minor aspects of management. It’s particularly helpful when prospective building owners have an understanding of the local political culture and an awareness of regional differences that could account for variances in cost. We cover this early and often, describing what we see as the unique local variables that go with each project — the kinds of things that owners might not, but should, think about.

    More from Ralph Agostinelli:


    Ralph J Agostinelli, PE (ragostinelli@stanmar-inc.com) is senior project manager at Stanmar Inc., a Wayland, Mass., design-build firm specializing in athletic and recreation facilities.

  • Parents Worry Privatizing Gym Program Prices Kids Out

    by SCOTT TAYLOR, Staff Writer July 2014

    LEWISTON -- Parents of city gymnasts say they're worried that efforts to privatize a recreation department program will price their kids out of the sport. "It won't be accessible any longer, not to your average Lewiston citizen," said Tory Dresser, mother of 5-year-old Valentine. "I don't know what the median income is here, but I can tell you this program would not accessible if you have to pay $150 per eight or nine weeks." Deputy City Administrator Phil Nadeau said the city is negotiating with two individuals to take over the program as a private business.

  • Spooky Nook Sports Complex Plans Hotel, Restaurant

    by Tim Mekeel July 2014

    "This will be something to service (its) tournament participants," said Bob Krimmel, East Hempfield Township manager.

  • Opinion: Renovated HS Athletics Facility 'a Jaw-Dropper'

    by Pat Disabato. pdisabato@southtownstar.com July 2014

    There have been various high school expansion plans through the years that looked good, but failed to deliver on their promises, specifically to enhance the experience of student-athletes.

  • School District Opts to Borrow Money for Gym Upgrades

    by Patti Welander pwelander@pantagraph.com July 2014

    Even though the Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley School District has the money to pay for planned improvements, the school board has approved issuing general obligation bonds for the work.

  • End-to-End Practice Courts Afford K-State Flexibility

    by Paul Steinbach June 2014

    When one thinks of multi-court gymnasiums, a boxy side-by-side configuration typically comes to mind. The two-year-old basketball training facility at Kansas State University, designed by Kansas City, Mo.-based Populous, instead features two courts placed end to end.

  • Recreation to Return to Legendary Prep Gym Site

    by Bill Leffler June 2014

    Many of us can remember when some of the best high school basketball ever was played in a little gymnasium on Portsmouth Boulevard. That goes back a half century when Frederick Military Academy was established. It operated until 1985.

  • During Construction It’s Decision Time, Again and Again

    by Ralph Agostinelli June 2014

    The design is complete, the shovels are in the ground. How are you planning to spend the next 12 to 18 months, while your new building takes shape?

  • Rival Developers Proceeding with Separate Rink Plans

    by laura kinsler; Tribune staff June 2014

    - When Gordie Zimmermann announced plans last month for a massive ice-skating complex on Interstate 75, it seemed to put an end to speculation about where Pasco County's first ice rink would be built. But rival Pat DeLorenzo said he hasn't given up his dream to build a hockey arena one exit north, on County Road 54 near The Grove shopping center. We're going forward, DeLorenzo said.