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Daily Journal of Commerce (Portland, OR)

Projects on college campuses commonly come with logistical challenges, but the University of Oregon currently has a handful.

In a heavily trafficked area through the heart of campus, three contractors are tackling four projects. Howard S. Wright, a Balfour Beatty Co., is handling the Student Recreation Center renovation and expansion as well as an emergency water pipe project; Fortis Construction is building a renovation and expansion of Straub Hall; and Lease Crutcher Lewis is leading a renovation and expansion of the Erb Memorial Union.

Lease Crutcher Lewis was tapped to coordinate the logistics between the three building projects, but it had to adjust to a delay related to funding.

"Originally, we were going to be driving this whole coordination and the other two (projects) starting after us," senior project manager Mark Butler said. "When we got on board, we had to make sure all our assumptions were still valid. "

That prompted an informal meeting in the EMU, where contractors' project managers and supervisors joined university officials and gave overviews of their respective projects. Regularly scheduled "superblock coordination meetings" then let project managers lay out scope and sequencing and how they could work without interfering with students or athletic events.

"Everybody said what they were going to do," Howard S. Wright project executive Chris Hartson said. "We put together a logistics plan that made everything work. "

From the meetings came a map with an overlay highlighting critical choke points. Howard S. Wright gained access to its work site by building a road from a staging area off of 18th Avenue, parallel to athletic fields. That ensured no disruptions of student activities, Hartson said.

For Fortis, a tight construction space at Straub Hall became even tighter because of the utility work being done by Howard S. Wright along 15th Avenue, project manager Matt Norman said. Some of the work overlapped.

"It was already fully designed, but we had to make the determination that it made more sense for HSW to do the work that was in our scope," he said. "We credited it out and they picked it up. It worked out well. "

Fortis is working on a site touched by projects on three sides - the utility work to the south of Straub Hall, the Student Recreation Center to the west and the EMU to the east, Norman said. Construction cranes for the Student Recreation Center actually overlap those for Straub Hall.

"We've worked in close proximity before, but this amount of work on university projects is pretty intense," he said. "There are regularly guys coming into our trailer who may not even work for us. "

Lease Crutcher Lewis, which is demolishing part of the EMU, must deal with physical boundary with the Straub Hall site, Butler said.

"Just looking at the perimeter of fences between Straub and the EMU - our fences are touching," he said. "There is no area between them. "

Plus, a new access point for Lease Crutcher Lewis trucks had to be identified. The 15th Avenue access point was clogged, so trucks were directed to enter from 13th Avenue and exit onto University Street. That kept truck traffic away from Straub Hall and the Student Recreation Center.

Communication has become critical among the contractors and university officials, but also with students and the general public, Butler said. Lease Crutcher Lewis has set up electronic kiosks at the EMU to direct people through the work site. The university, meanwhile, has coordinated communication in student dorms.

"Usually on a construction site, you keep to yourself, put your fences up and that's where your focus is," Butler said. "But because of the three projects on campus, we've had to look beyond that. It's pretty unique to see this much work going on at a campus at one time. "

After a few scheduled meetings, it became apparent that they were no longer necessary, UO project manager Janet Lobue said, because the contractors were talking to each other regularly.

"You have to make sure that you have the right team of people on the projects," she said. "They have to be willing to compromise and work together. For the most part, the contractors have done an excellent job. "

Erb Memorial Union renovation and expansion

Date started: December 2013

Expected completion: spring 2016

Project cost: $95 million

General contractor: Lease Crutcher Lewis

Architect: SERA Architects

Student Recreation Center renovation and expansion

Date started: July 2013

Expected completion: January 2015

Project cost: $52.5 million

General contractor: Howard S. Wright

Architect: Robertson Sherwood Architects

Straub Hall renovation and expansion

Date started: July 2013

Expected completion: December 2015

Project cost: $43.5 million

General contractor: Fortis Construction

Architect: Opsis Architecture, in partnership with Rowell Brokaw Architects

15th Street water line repair

Date started: mid-June

Expected completion: early September

Construction cost: $100,000

General contractor: Howard S. Wright

Architect: Eugene Water & Electric Board Click here for more from this resource.

© 2014 Dolan Media Newswires. All Rights Reserved.


July 4, 2014


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