DPR Construction Celebrates the Opening of the Veterans Bridge Home Salute to Service Lounge

Veterans center
Veterans Bridge Home Salute to Service Lounge. Courtesy of Kelsey Evans

DPR Construction recently cut the ribbon of the Veterans Bridge Home Salute to Service Lounge in Charlotte, NC. The new Service Lounge will serve as the organization’s home base for the region. The VBH Salute to Service Lounge is a “one-stop-shop” for veterans who have served their country by providing the resources they need to transition to civilian life. The lounge project included demolition and build back of the open office and private office areas, construction of a new work lounge, finish updates to existing offices and minor modifications to an existing breakroom.

Not only did Veterans Bridge Home hope to create a new facility to benefit their organization, the goal was to build the project with as many veteran-owned businesses and veteran workers as possible.

DPR’s team implemented a three-tiered approach to veteran involvement. Tier one focused on 35% of the craft workforce on site being veterans. The second tier focused on sourcing from veteran-owned businesses and Veterans Bridge Home Community Champions such as the millwork, signage and carpeting vendors.

The third tier included veterans comprising DPR’s project team. Jonathan Walters, a veteran of the US Navy, served as the Project Manager.

“From the very beginning, Jonathan’s leadership and willingness to enthusiastically take on this project and reduce overall costs set a tone of motivation and servant-leadership that could be felt every day on the jobsite,” said Blake Bourne, Executive Director at Veterans Bridge.

Veteran table exterior to building
Project Manager Jonathan Walters at the VBH opening. Courtesy of Elizabeth Foss

To facilitate the quick schedule and ensure both quality and safety, DPR self-performed 45% of the project scope including deconstruction, framing, drywall and miscellaneous specialties. Ultimately, DPR Construction was able to reduce the project’s total cost by more than 40%, saving Veterans Bridge Home over $100,000 in construction costs.

The electrical team from partner Evergreen Innovation Group was indispensable on the project, donating a connect track system, volunteering all low voltage work and installing Wi-Fi and routers in the space. The group also donated their time to assemble and install shelving units in the lounge space.

“EIG was a major contributor to this project,” said DPR’s Josh Vallimont. “They self-performed all of the electrical work and helped limit cost at every corner.”

To foster teambuilding, valued team members received a challenge coin in appreciation of their participation in the project. Historically, challenge coins were presented by unit commanders in recognition of special achievement by a member of the unit.

Challenge Coin
Veterans Bridge Home Challenge Coin. Courtesy of Elizabeth Foss

“Almost one hundred challenge coins were handed out. We recognized not only the crew on site, but business owners, fabricators, and Lowe’s store employees,” said DPR’s Josh Vallimont. “Everyone jumped through hoops to provide a project with a market value of approximately $250K for close to $100K, the cost to the owner. On top of that, we found ways to procure products quickly even for some that typically have weeks of lead time.”

Sir Purr - Panthers mascot
Panthers mascot Sir Purr visits the project team. Courtesy of Jonathan Walter

The Veterans Bridge Home Salute to Service Lounge was the recipient of Lowe’s Home Improvement community project known as “Home Team.” The initiative unites NFL players representing every team in the league and fans around a community connection. Christian McCaffrey, Carolina Panthers running back, served as the captain of Lowe’s “Home Team” and Panthers mascot Sir Purr visited the project team to thank them for their efforts.