Elizabeth Foss

July 29, 2020

DPR Construction bridges a gap and drives chiller ingenuity at Baptist Health’s Jacksonville campus

Prefabricated bridge being placed onto the columns for its final placement. Photo courtesy of Scott Gibbs

Even as the pandemic requires constant vigilance from site teams, DPR Construction’s Jacksonville team continues to raise industry standards with a bridge placement at Baptist Medical Center Jacksonville and Wolfson Children’s Hospital. At 110 tons and 85 feet long, the prefabricated pedestrian bridge was successfully lifted and installed by the project team. The bridge will provide visitors, patients,and team members with access to garage parking and a safer path to cross the street and enter the future Baptist Jacksonville Entry Building/Wolfson Children’s Critical Care Tower.

Prefabricated bridge being transported to the location of its placement. Photo courtesy of Beard Transport

Directed by remote control, the project team utilized a self-propelled modular transporter (SPMT) to move the bridge down the street. “The bridge along with the overall hospital project is one of the largest self-perform concrete projects in the region,” said Matt Bishop, DPR project executive.

First lift of the bridge from its build site onto the equipment used to transport it to its final location. Photo courtesy of Scott Gibbs
Prefabricated bridge being lifted to its final location. Photo courtesy of Beard Transport

Following the bridge placement, the project team secured an additional milestone with the arrival and installation of a 1,800-ton chiller.

Due to the existing size of the building’s central energy plant (CEP), the chiller was disassembled in a day inside a climate-controlled warehouse space near the project site.“We factored in several key elements during the chiller disassembly phase to ensure for a seamless reassembly process,” said Scott Gibbs, DPR superintendent.

The project team followed strategic technical steps including:

  • Cleaning of the refrigerant lines in the warehouse to eliminate a day of purging
  • Advanced preparation of refrigerant line fittings
  • Storing refrigerant in the vacuum pump until recharging the system onsite
  • Sealing all parts of the assembly to prevent Trane from testing fluids in the system
  • Prefabrication of all of the linkages for the compressors
  • Preassembly of orifices and gaskets on economizer base and refrigerant oil separator
  • Pre-alignment of the motor on the compressor
  • Prefabrication of the rupture disk and flex

With the chiller components separated and ready for mobilization, the team along with project trade partners built a custom compressor roller for use at the project site to slide the chiller parts inside the narrow space of the existing CEP of the building. “Based on the BIM model, we were able to determine travel paths and swing radius specs to transport the chiller elements on the specialized transport dollies,” said Gibbs.

The team successfully transported, reassembled, and installed the chiller inside of the project space in under 48 hours.

The project is slated to be complete by the end of 2021.

July 16, 2020

HRI Properties is on Top in Tampa

DPR Construction recently celebrated the topping out of the new HRI Properties dual-branded Hyatt Place and Hyatt House project. Located adjacent to the historic Tampa Old City Hall building, the 364,000 sq.-ft. design-build space will feature 345 hotel rooms, 4,800 sq.-ft. of meeting space, an outdoor rooftop pool, 3,000 sq.-ft. of ground-floor retail space and 220 parking spots, 127 that will be reserved for public use.

To mark the topping out of the HRI Hyatt House and Hyatt Place project, the team signed their names to the building’s final steel beam and watched as a crane elevated it 17 stories into place.

A member of the project team signing the final steel beam. Photo courtesy of DPR Construction

“There is nothing more rewarding than watching the months and months of hard work and planning culminate into a single event signifying the hard work and dedication of all the craft workers who enabled this milestone. We’re all glad to witness the last piece of signed steel soar overhead and into place,” said DPR’s Project Executive, Barry Cole.

The project’s downtown location and dense workspace added a layer of complexity. “Working in a downtown site is always fun! New challenges to tackle can emerge on an almost hourly basis,” said DPR Project Superintendent, John Donovan. Working within a tight footprint, the project team was able to coordinate traffic flow efforts to reduce any potential effects on neighboring businesses while continuing to maintain on-site safety.

“Anytime you’re working in a tight downtown site, there is nothing more rewarding than playing what feels like a real-life game of Tetris. We jockey full-size trucks and equipment around the project like a finely orchestrated dance,” said DPR Project Manager, Jason Page.

The final steel beam is raised into place. Photo courtesy of DPR Construction

DPR self-performed the first-floor drywall and hard lid ceilings, three elevator lobbies, doors, and specialties. Self-perform crews also handled the installation of prefabricated exterior panels. The building’s exterior panels were prefabricated offsite utilizing Digital Building Components’ (DBC) robotic technology. The DBC panels are created in a controlled environment, rather than in the field, to ensure their quality. In a four-month span, the team installed 516 exterior panels, averaging about 12 panels per installation shift, a significant schedule savings compared to traditional exterior framing and Exterior Insulation and Finish System (EIFS) installation.

By using DBC, in addition to the schedule, a labor efficiency was also created. The project had a six-worker crew for the entire panel installation, compared to an average EIFS application which has roughly 50+ workers on the exterior of a building. DBC also promotes cleaner and safer installations by eliminating debris from an EIFS process and also by bypassing the need for mast climbers.

In addition to attracting new business and leisure visitors to the Tampa Bay area, upon its completion, the hotel will provide approximately 70 new employment opportunities. “As we work to recover from the COVID-19 crisis and get our economy back on its feet, we are so excited to celebrate new developments like the HRI Downtown Hyatt House and Hyatt Place Project. DPR Construction has been steadfast in their commitment to keeping our city moving forward safely in the midst of this pandemic. This project will help elevate our tourism industry as we reopen slowly and look forward to welcoming visitors back to our beautiful city in the future,” said Tampa Mayor Jane Castor.

May 7, 2020

DPR Means Business at Clemson University

DPR Construction recently celebrated reaching substantial completion on Clemson University’s College of Business. The $87M project, features 24 teaching spaces, a five-story interior atrium, faculty offices, and amenities including a fireplace lounge and La Madeleine Café.

Clemson’s new College of Business is redefining the center of the university’s campus while creating a state-of-the-art think tank environment for the college’s growing student population. The 176,000 sq.-ft. facility’s collaborative, 21st century design overlooks the famous Tillman Hall clock tower and Bowman Field creating a new center of campus with room for future expansion beyond the business school.

Notably, DPR’s project team was able to hit substantial completion on time while adhering to physical distancing protocols. A new front door to Clemson’s historic campus, the new College of Business will open its doors to students this fall.

April 20, 2020

DPR Construction Activates Tech Innovation to Navigate Inspection

(Note: this photo was taken in March prior to mandated use of masks on site, however social distancing and glove requirements were in place.) Photo courtesy of the DPR Project Team

At a time when social distancing, health, and safety are top of mind, the DPR WeWork project team continued to push their project forward while adhering to all mandated safety restrictions. When it came time for the building inspection of the 60,000-sq.-ft. co-workspace located in Nashville’s popular neighborhood, The Gulch, the team faced a new challenge. “The fire marshal called us and told us our inspection that week would be canceled as the fire department was suspending all in-person activities indefinitely,” said DPR’s Kyle Wortendyke.

The team moved quickly to develop a viable alternative solution. “This was an issue, as we only had two weeks to hit substantial completion and move the owner in on time,” said Wortendyke. The potential roadblock didn’t slow the project team’s momentum. The team was utilizing a 360-degree camera throughout the building process to enhance the owner’s progress photo experience in lieu of traditional progress photos to review the space and decided to lean in on innovation and use the same camera to conduct a virtual inspection.

To provide a realistic walk-through of the space, the project team shot sample videos using the camera, which ultimately allowed the viewer to spin the video 360 degrees and rotate views up and down. Once the sample videos were provided to the fire marshal, DPR was given the go-ahead to conduct the full site inspection virtually. The team immediately got to work shooting video of the full ring out and emergency lighting systems.

Thanks to the project team’s fast thinking and innovative approach, the building was successfully inspected and turned over to the client on time and ready for use.

February 11, 2020

Clemson University Scores a Double Play with its First Softball Facility and New Team

Clemson University President, Athletic Director, Softball Head Coach, Alumni and several members of the Softball Team gathered for the ribbon cutting. Photo courtesy of DPR Construction

The playing field is set for Clemson University softball’s inaugural season as the university recently celebrated the opening of its first softball facility. DPR Construction completed construction of the 50,000-sq.-ft. stadium in time for the team’s February 12 home opener.

As DPR built the facility from the ground up, Clemson did the same with its team.

“The opportunity to be part of building the new softball facility for Clemson was extremely exciting,” said DPR’s Brett Pittman, a senior superintendent. “Even more gratifying was playing a part in developing an entirely new athletic program that Clemson has never had before. Being a part of building something so important to the community is one of the best things about working for DPR,” said Pittman.

The facility includes an NCAA standard sized playing field. Photo courtesy of Edward Badham

The $13 million, 1,000-seat state-of-the-art facility features a team lounge, locker room, sports medicine room, equipment room and an indoor player development batting cage that spans over 6,000-sq.-ft. Athletes, officials and staff will have more than 12,000-sq.-ft. of player and administrative operations space including:

  • Coaches’ offices
  • Press box with three broadcast booths
  • Conference rooms
  • Locker rooms for umpires and visiting team and coaches
Team locker room. Photo courtesy of Edward Badham

Spectators will have a first-class experience, as well,access to amenities such as restrooms, a family nursing room, expansive parking and two concession stands.

“I knew we needed a facility where we could develop players without any obstacles. A facility that would attract recruits, and one where fans could be right on top of the action and really enjoy the game-day experience. I can truly say we accomplished all three,” said Clemson Softball Head Coach John Rittman.

DPR worked closely with Clemson University Athletics from start to finish.

“It’s been a pleasure to work with DPR Construction throughout the entire process of building our stadium,” said Coach Rittman. “Their team atmosphere has been on full display by their employees every step of the way.”

DPR Construction made its building debut on Clemson University’s campus in 2008. As the university’s building landscape continues to flourish and expand, DPR’s project construction completion footprint at the university includes:

February 6, 2020

RIEGL USA Celebrates the Groundbreaking of its New North American Headquarters Building

Members of RIEGL, DPR and the community gathered to celebrate at the Groundbreaking Event. Photo courtesy of Creative Nation Media

Just west of Orlando, Winter Garden, Florida will soon be the new home of LiDAR technology leader RIEGL USA as DPR Construction recently broke ground on the company’s North American Headquarters building. The 18,500-sq.-ft. facility will include service areas for equipment testing and calibration of laser scanners and systems, a customer support center, distribution hub, modern training rooms, sales and administration offices, generous break and collaboration areas, a gym and an outdoor work and relaxation area.

RIEGL USA North American Headquarters. Photo courtesy of Walker Design.

DPR’s project team will use the equipment RIEGL manufactures throughout the building process. “Over the past several months, our teams have worked side-by-side to learn how the use of RIEGL’s cutting-edge LiDAR laser scanning technologies will build the very facility where these tools will be produced, tested and further developed to shape the future growth of our two companies and the industries we serve,” said DPR’s Bryan Boykin. The RIEGL technologies being used on this project will support quality assurance and quality control, resulting in more accurate and time-saving deliverables for the field.

“Being part of RIEGL’s new North American headquarters and training facility means so much to us. When we started this journey, we discovered that DPR and RIEGL share an ever-forward, people-first approach in the way we work and build relationships,” Boykin said. The entire construction life cycle of the project will be captured via laser scanning including foundations, footings, bolt locations, utilities and tilt-wall panels.

DPR will use RIEGL technology throughout the building process. Photo courtesy of Creative Nation Media.

The new state-of-the-art facility will increase Central Florida’s advanced technology footprint. “RIEGL’s expansion is all about growth. This new facility is fueling the local economy, creating jobs and cultivating advancements in technology,” said Boykin. The use of RIEGL’s cutting-edge technology will not only help ensure accuracy and efficiency throughout the building process, but it also serves as another example of how DPR continues to push past typical industry standards and enhance overall operational excellence.

November 22, 2019

DPR Leverages Data Center Expertise in Booming Atlanta Market

Data center development has surged in the Atlanta metro area in recent years, fueled by rich connectivity options, reasonable power costs, low natural disaster risk, easy access to tech talent, and a state tax break passed by Georgia legislators in 2018 designed to spur growth in the data center market.

Databank building in Midtown Atlanta Photo courtesy of Halkin I Mason Photography

Long recognized as a financial technology hub (Atlanta is a clearinghouse for some 70% of all electronic payments worldwide and home to 16 Fortune 500 companies), the city has garnered recognition in recent years as the 7th largest wholesale data center market in the United States according to CBRE, with 132.5 MW of inventory. Forbes named Atlanta one of the top five up-and-coming “tech meccas” in 2017. And in a nod to the region’s growing data center market, Bisnow held its Data Center Investment Conference & Expo in Atlanta the past two years, while CAPRE held its fourth annual Data Center and Cloud Infrastructure Summit in Atlanta this August. CBRE Research recently ranked Atlanta fifth in the U.S. for the region’s 14.5 MW currently under construction and sixth in the nation for its 40% growth in inventory since 2015 (North American Data Center Report H1 2019).

The leading names in data center ownership are expanding their presence in the Atlanta market – enabling the region to hold its own against other leading powerhouse data center markets throughout the U.S.

DPR Construction, a leading builder of data centers and advanced technology facilities, has found itself in the midst of this boom.

DPR recently completed two major data center projects for clients in the burgeoning Atlanta region; a signature data center project in Midtown Atlanta for leading enterprise-class data center provider Databank and a 70,000-sq.-ft. data center facility for Flexential on their Alpharetta campus. The projects showcase how DPR was able to leverage its technical expertise and its national data center experience to support customers’ needs for highly technical, mission critical projects in the Southeastern U.S.

Databank's central energy plant Photo courtesy of Halkin I Mason Photography

Databank Expands to Atlanta Market

The three-story, 110,000-sq.-ft. data center and adjoining 645,000-sq.-ft., 21-story mixed use office complex are the latest addition to the Georgia Institute of Technology’s “Tech Square.” The project is Databank’s first data center in Atlanta, representing the company’s expansion into its ninth U.S. market.

Databank is leasing 30% of the data center facility to Georgia Tech for its high-performance, research computing needs. The ATL1 facility will also house part of the Southern Crossroads network node which provides high-speed, high bandwidth connectivity to research and education sites throughout the region and across the nation.

Georgia Tech’s fleet of super computers operate at five-times the density of traditional computer racks and produce heat loads that would overwhelm traditional, air-cooled data centers. Working with DPR, DataBank and Georgia Tech opted to address those unusual heat loads with rack-mounted heat exchanges that allow Georgia Tech to significantly reduce the energy required to manage that heat.

DPR completed the initial 3.2-megawatt buildout on time and under budget. The space is now being operated by Georgia Tech for university support and research activities and by DataBank as part of its Atlanta service offering for companies seeking colocation, cloud or hybrid cloud solutions.

Additionally, DPR was selected as the general contractor for both the Coda Tower project (built for Portman Holdings) and Databank’s ATL1 data center project, employing two separate project teams that worked simultaneously on site. The Databank project team overcame an array of logistical, technical, and project management hurdles to complete the facility in February of 2019, just 11 months after construction began. The complexity of the conjoined development was further compounded by an extremely tight development schedule, mid-project design changes, equipment issues, ongoing weather factors, and finally, a construction moratorium enforced by the City of Atlanta to minimize any impact to the Super Bowl festivities.

“Our relationships with the subcontractors and vendors helped us cut short some of the long delivery equipment times so we could still meet our substantial completion date,” commented DPR project executive Vikesh Handratta. “Everyone stepped up to help find solutions whenever we faced a challenge on this project.”

Handratta said that clear, open communication, a highly collaborative and committed project team and DPR’s ability to leverage its national data center knowledge base were all critical factors in the project’s success. “Everybody had one end goal in mind: let’s be successful as a team,” he said.

Databank's data center floor Photo courtesy of Halkin I Mason Photography

Solution-Oriented Approach

Success on the project required the team to innovate solutions to myriad challenges that came up. Among them:

  • Groundbreaking on the Databank project was dependent on Coda tower’s completion of five levels of parking below the plaza level, which is the ground floor for the data center. Although the plaza level had some challenges in delivering as originally planned, the team came up with a strategy to mitigate that delay and still complete the data center on schedule.
  • Constructing the project in the middle of busy midtown Atlanta created some logistical challenges which required DPR to hyper coordinate activities with subs and suppliers and the city of Atlanta on all project deliveries and equipment installation activities that impacted traffic.
  • Transporting the chillers inside the building through the Coda tower loading dock proved to be a challenge that required careful preplanning and coordination ahead of time with the trucking and equipment vendors.

Tapping DPR’s National Data Center Expertise

DPR leveraged its national data center expertise to assist with commissioning, bringing in a highly experienced MEP coordinator from the West Coast to work alongside DPR’s Atlanta-based team.

“As a national data center builder, we were able to easily bring in someone who was extremely knowledgeable about all stages of data center commissioning to work hand-in-hand with our project-based commissioning agent, which was really helpful,” Handratta concluded. “Leveraging the power of our nationwide knowledge base and the depth of DPR’s expertise as a technical builder helped us deliver a first-rate data center project for Databank.”

Facility for Flexential

That same approach was also key to DPR’s success on the new 70,000-sq.-ft. Flexential data center facility in the northern Atlanta suburb of Alpharetta, completed this April. The project followed another recent data center project that DPR completed for Flexential in the Pacific Northwest, boosting the company’s national colocation footprint to more than 3.1 million square feet.

Flexential's data center cage Photo courtesy of Gregg Willett Photo

Constructed on the site of a former parking lot, the new facility ties into an existing two-story data center on Flexential’s Alpharetta campus. It contains 3 megawatts of UPS power, two 2.5 megawatt generators, two 500-ton air cooled chillers and 4 switchgear lineups.

DPR broke ground on the project in July 2018 and successfully completed it on schedule just nine months later. The team contended with one of the region’s wettest seasons on record, facing 30 rain days and more than 59 inches of rain during construction.

“It was substantially more rain than anticipated, but we were able to fast track a few scopes of work and still finish the project within the timeframe we originally told the owner,” said DPR project manager Robby Wright. “That was a big accomplishment.”

Flexential Data Center electrical switchgear Photo courtesy of Gregg Willett Photo

The project was the first to employ Flexential’s newest data center design. DPR relied on its extensive bank of data center knowledge and previous work to overcome various hurdles and even shared lessons learned with a competitor Nashville who built Flexential’s second project with that same design in Nashville.

Wright said DPR’s consistency across its data center work processes was a key success factor on the Alpharetta data center project. Similar to the Databank project, the Flexential project team also brought in a national MEP expert to help guide the project through commissioning. “DPR has many resources across the country and we definitely appreciate leveraging those as much as possible to benefit our customers,” he added.