Penn State University (PSU) recently opened its newly modernized Agricultural Engineering Building, which houses the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering (ABE) in the College of Agricultural Sciences. The ribbon cutting ceremony was held on June 8, 2018, giving PSU the opportunity to recognize the gifts and donations that made this facility a reality.
Home to some of the nation’s top architectural, engineering and building construction programs, PSU is incorporating Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) on this project, the first time the delivery method will be used on campus. The selection process began in the early summer of 2014, followed by PSU, DPR Construction, EYP Architecture & Engineering and mechanical and electrical subcontractors signing a multi-party IPD contract in 2015.
The two major components of this 93,500-sq.-ft. project are:
The modernization of the existing Charles Klauder building: built in 1938, the historic building needed major upgrades to meet safety and energy standards, as well as building needs.
The demolition of a 1960s addition to the building: In its place, the team constructed a new, replacement building, designed to match existing campus architecture.
The Agricultural Engineering Building houses four multi-purpose
classrooms, more than 30 comprehensive research and teaching labs, and several
conference rooms and collaboration lounges. Agricultural engineering, with its
diverse range of study, houses not only bio-chemistry laboratories, but machine
shops, integrated hydrology-hydraulics laboratories and a new centralized
With an energy efficient, open-concept design, the Agricultural
Engineering Building is aiming to achieve LEED Silver certification through
sustainable elements including a green roof, water conservation technology,
renewable materials and use of natural light.
In Tampa, the DPR team at Crosstown Center Phase II celebrated the completion of vertical structural steel construction with a traditional topping out ceremony this spring.
The corporate office campus will include a 5-story, 260,000-sq.-ft. core-and-shell office building with a 7-story, 1,260 space parking garage and connecting pedestrian bridge when it is complete in late 2018. Pursuing LEED Silver certification, the campus will leverage sustainable elements such as daylighting and recycling of 75 percent of construction waste.
More than 250 guests including design team members, subcontractors, craftspeople and owners enjoyed a barbecue lunch, presentation and ceremonial signing of the final beam to be raised into the structure. DPR thanked the subcontractors and construction crew for their hard work and dedication to maintaining a safe project site.
Redwood City, California-based LEMO Foundation recently found itself in dire need of the skills that DPR’s self-perform work crews bring to the table. A charitable organization dedicated to providing a home base where underprivileged youth can feel safe, build positive relationships and develop their dreams in an environment where they can excel in academics, athletics and life skills, LEMO was in danger of losing the lease to a portion of its Redwood City facility. Because the previous owner built volleyball courts underneath power lines without PG&E consent, the organization needed the courts to be demolished and removed to maintain its lease and continue holding tournaments at its facility.
DPR’s Alex Saldana was already familiar with the organization and the outstanding work it does in the community helping underprivileged student-athletes succeed in school, athletics and life in hopes of receiving college scholarships.
“I knew it was an opportunity for our SPW demo crew to participate in something that was a unique fit for our skills,” Saldana said. “A demo project is not something that comes up often for volunteer work, and it seemed like the perfect opportunity for DPR to help.”
Over the next two months, DPR’s team worked with LEMO to set a scope of work, find additional help and complete demolition before its critical deadline. Six DPR crews helped complete the demolition project in one weekend. All totaled, DPR dedicated 116 administrative hours and 100 craft hours to complete the project.
LEMO Foundation has since been in touch with Saldana, letting him know that the organization was able to renew its lease on the parking lot. It now has additional capacity to accommodate a surge of growth to its volleyball program, which is ranked among the leading programs in the Bay Area. LEMO also has plans to start after-school classes to expose students to potential career paths, such as education, entrepreneurship and sound engineering.
Formed as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in 2008, LEMO Foundation has accomplished unique results, with 75 percent of its student-athletes earning full scholarships and 100 percent of student-athletes receiving admission to college.
In Durham, North Carolina, Marion Broome, PhD, RN, Dean of Duke University School of Nursing, paid a visit to personally thank the DPR crew on the progress of Duke Health's new five-story, 103,000-sq.-ft. interdisciplinary building.
Expected to be completed in fall 2019, the building is the future home of the Duke School of Medicine’s Doctor of Physical Therapy Division, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and the School of Nursing. The shared space aims to promote collaborative scholarship and strengthens Duke’s academic community by teaching students the value of patient-centric care across multiple medical disciplines.
“On behalf of the Duke University School of Nursing faculty and staff, we are so excited about this opportunity to do, as Duke does, to collaborate so well but to also take interprofessional education to the next level,” said Broome.
Joel Bass When DPR’s Joel Bass and his wife Wei-Bing Chen arrived at UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay because Chen was in labor, the staff told them that it might be helpful to go for a walk around campus. It was a familiar walk for Joel Bass, who was a superintendent on the award-winning 878,000-sq.ft. ground-up hospital complex renowned for its integrated project delivery (IPD) approach and state-of-the-art patient care. After walking the very same halls where he did countless job walks during the years he worked on the hospital, the parents-to-be sat on a bench and reflected on what was to come.
On March 12, 2015, the world welcomed Tyler Bass, the first DPR baby to be born at UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay. It was serendipitous, as the hospital had only moved deliveries into the new hospital a few days prior.
“It brought together so many things. At DPR, we try to be integral and indispensable to our communities, and having your baby in the building you built is a way to truly become a part of the building, and use it in the way it was intended,” said Joel Bass. “It’s important to see value and meaning in the work that you do, and know that you’re contributing to something larger than yourself. It was a special experience to share what we built with my family.”
Today, Tyler Bass is three years old–old enough to recognize UCSF’s helipad from nearby Highway 280 as “the place where dad works.” With his own hard hat, vest and boots, the toddler gravitates toward anything related to construction. He’s fascinated by cars, trucks and equipment, and is always lobbying his dad to take him to the jobsite.
Joel Bass now works a few blocks away from the hospital where Tyler Bass was born, as he and the DPR team build UCSF’s new 270,000-sq.-ft. Joan and Sanford I. Weill Neurosciences Building, which will bring together lab research programs and clinical care in what will become one of the largest neuroscience complexes in the world.
On his last visit, Tyler Bass proudly told his dad that he wants to work with him some day, a dream that makes Joel Bass smile–and a dream that might come true.
Dan Crutchfield When DPR’s Dan Crutchfield met his wife Lauren Crutchfield at McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland, he had no idea what big moments life would have in store for him at the hospital a mile away.
As a superintendent at DPR, Dan Crutchfield has worked on five straight projects for Carroll Hospital Center, ranging from outpatient suites to the expansion of the labor and delivery suites, often coordinating construction work within live hospital units. On Nov. 25, 2017, after enduring a long labor and delivery process, Lauren Crutchfield gave birth to Josephine (Josie) Crutchfield in one of the very same suites built by her father.
Dan Crutchfield still works within the same building, as the DPR team builds an expansion of the hospital’s couplet care program, which enables mothers and newborns to stay together for their entire hospital stay. Nurses, doctors and hospital staff run into him almost every day and check in for updates about his wife and daughter.
“Now that I am renovating and expanding the facility where Josie was born, I gained an appreciation for what the doctors, nurses and medical staff do every day,” said Dan Crutchfield. “I’m able to see it from two different perspectives, both professional and personal.”
A native of Carroll County, Maryland, Dan Crutchfield grew up his whole life in the community that Carroll Hospital Center serves and finds great meaning in building a facility that will positively impact so many people that he knows–including his own family. Josie Crutchfield is now six months old, and when she’s old enough, Dan Crutchfield plans to explain to her how she was born in the hospital that he built.
“I wasn’t just a contractor at a hospital. All the work I put into the expansion and renovations, I was making it better for her, and for families like ours. It was special, and a project that I will always remember.”
During a long project, it can be easy to lose sight of the importance of seemingly small tasks day-in and day-out. With shared team values of integrity, community and purpose, these two hospital expansions increase access to community-based, patient-centric healthcare within a culture of compassion. Every room, every wall, and every brush of paint could make the biggest difference on a patient’s day.
“In our Monday morning safety meetings and daily huddles, we actively discuss the importance of what we are doing and emphasize that we are guests on campus,” said DPR’s Brian Thomason. “We established a culture that publicly praises kindness and doing the right thing.”
On healthcare projects, a compassionate environment inspires, motivates and connects the team to the spaces they are building. As discussed in "Manage Your Emotional Culture" in the Harvard Business Review, smaller acts of kindness and support create a caring culture, which improves teamwork and performance while decreasing burnout.
This specific environment is crucial to patient-centered design and construction. Health Environments Research & Design Journal reports that “by becoming more conscious of empathy, those who create healthcare environments can better connect holistically to the user to take an experiential approach to design.”
Here are the keys to creating a culture of compassion:
Connect the Team to the Purpose How people feel about the project they are completing directly affects their performance. During a four-year hospital project, it’s important to keep the bigger picture in mind, and integrated teams at Banner—UMC Phoenix and Banner—UMC Tucson discovered unique opportunities to connect and empathize with patients in adjacent buildings.
At Banner—UMC Tucson, children recovering at the adjacent Banner Children’s at Diamond Children’s Medical Center have a direct view of the jobsite under construction. The Sundt | DPR team moved cardboard cut-outs of Pokémon™ characters including Pikachu, Squirtle and Charmander to a new spot on the steel frame structure every day. This energized and connected the team to the project, which includes the construction of a bridge to connect the new nine-story hospital through Banner Children’s at Diamond Children’s Medical Center. Floors five through nine will provide 204 in-patient private bed units, and floors one through four will include bridge connections to the existing hospital.
Patients at the Phoenix project also had a unique view of progress of the new 13-story patient tower expansion, which will house 256 patient beds. The team noticed a sign from a patient window on the eighth floor of the existing patient tower, requesting the “YMCA” dance for her birthday. Working collaboratively on their moves, the team happily delivered the dance.
“With our team’s culture, there was a real sense of duty. You could see it through the extra hours, the extra work, and the drive to live up to our commitments,” said Thomason.
The Community is Considered Part of the Team Normally, construction aims to stay out of sight, minimizing any disruption to the surrounding community. However, the community welcomed the positivity, investment and teaching opportunities provided by the teams.
At Banner—UMC Phoenix, the team encouraged kids from nearby Emerson Elementary to paint the plywood safety wall surrounding the jobsite. The resulting mural provided a colorful addition to the project, and it was also an opportunity to teach students about safety and construction. After the wall was no longer needed onsite, DPR delivered and installed the mural at Emerson Elementary for the students to remember their contribution to Banner—UMC Phoenix.
“The team, both Banner employees and DPR, have all stated how they are so proud to be a part of such a caring group of people inside and outside of the office,” said Thomason.
By engaging and educating the community, hospital end users feel like a part of the team and share that culture of compassion.
The Team Looks for Opportunities to Create Joy When the team establishes a culture of compassion, the opportunities to engage and give back seem to be everywhere.
The iron workers at Banner—UMC Phoenix spontaneously communicated their best wishes by painting “GET WELL FROM THE IRON WORKERS” in direct view of patient rooms in the current tower.
“This was completely unscripted and was a huge hit. We received a bunch of phone calls from the hospital staff saying how awesome it was for the construction workers to take a moment and place this message to the patients,” said Thomason.
The community, staff, patients and project teams may not remember every single day they spent building this project, but they will look back and remember how they felt.
When it comes to introducing teen girls to the many career opportunities available in the construction industry, who better to do so than an all-female team of DPR professionals?
That’s just what took place this spring at a DPR-hosted workshop titled “You Got This!” for the Girls Empowerment Network (GEN) Austin.
The gathering was part of GEN’s Pathfinder workshop series. It marked DPR’s first one-on-one event with an organization whose mission is “to ignite the power in girls by teaching them the skills to thrive and believe in their ability to become unstoppable.” Formed in 1996, GEN has arms in Houston and Austin focused on offering rising ninth to 12th grade girls a professional development program and a head start on their road to independence, college and career.
The half-day workshop brought together eight GEN teens with five DPR professionals at DPR’s Austin office. DPR community initiative liaison Angie Weyant said that the small group atmosphere offered ample opportunity for participants to become better acquainted as they took part in an array of interactive exercises and activities.
To kick it all off, the DPR women shared the diverse paths each had taken into construction careers ranging from project executive to project engineer, estimating, marketing and administrative roles. The girls also had a chance to watch DPR’s “Celebrating Women Who Build” video, which even featured Andrea Weisheimer, one of the workshop volunteers.
The group then squared off on two opposing teams to play a DPR-developed game, “Operation Renovation,” a collaborative construction management game that shows players how the different roles on a construction site interact with each other.
The April workshop also included a chance for DPR volunteers and the girls to pair up for one-on-one “power chats” that honed their interview skills through rapid-fire Q&A sessions. A final exercise focused on bravery and resilience, which were key themes of the workshop.
“Bravery and resilience were great topics to reflect on, even as an adult,” Weyant said. “The girls seemed to love the workshop, and we’re looking forward to growing our relationship with them, to leverage our abilities and experiences to help further their mission and hopefully, encourage some of these bright young women to consider a construction career themselves.”
DPR recently celebrated the placement of the last structural beam for the new Serta Simmons Bedding headquarters in Atlanta, which city leaders hope will jump-start a rebirth of the Doraville area once it’s complete in early 2019.
The project consists of a 145,000-sq.-ft., 5-story office, 70,000-sq.-ft. manufacturing/showroom facility and a 500-space, 3-level precast parking deck. Self-performing work gives DPR the ability to offer greater control and set the tone and pace for projects. This project resulted in the largest self-perform concrete undertaking to date for DPR’s southeast team.
Serta, the nation's largest mattress company, is combining all company locations into the new 5-acre site as part of the redevelopment of the 165-acre Doraville General Motors plant, renamed Assembly. The area has been mostly vacant since the factory closed in 2008.
According to the Atlanta Business Chronicle, the new campus will house 500 employees for Serta Simmons Bedding and its two leading brands, Serta and Beautyrest, starting in early 2019. About 380 of the jobs at the Serta Simmons HQ are already in the Atlanta area, with another 120 Illinois-based employees being offered positions at the company’s new location.
Holder Properties is the developer for Serta’s new headquarters and Rule Joy Trammell + Rubio LLC is the building’s architect. Coordination has required the project team to collaborate with multiple agencies including the City of Doraville, the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority, and the Federal Aviation Administration.
Once complete, Assembly Yards will encompass 10 million square feet of multifamily housing, creative office space, restaurants, retail, and entertainment, including the purpose-built film studio Third Rail Studios which was completed in the first phase of redevelopment.
The recent topping out of the 30-story Third+Shoal project in Austin, TX marked the first time in company history that DPR self-performed all formwork and concrete work on a vertical high-rise structure.
Located in Austin’s booming new downtown business district, the 392,000-sq.-ft. Class-A office building is DPR’s first for Texas-based development partners Cielo Property Group and TIER REIT. Facebook will be the building’s primary tenant after the project completes this fall.
Working on a highly collaborative team with the clients (TIER REIT, Cielo Property Group, and BRDS), Gensler and other key firms, DPR was challenged during preconstruction to seek creative ways to save cost and time while maintaining the highest level of quality in design and construction. Together with structural engineer, Cardno Haynes-Whaley, the team devised a new approach for the tower. They transitioned from the originally designed pan slab and post-tensioned (P/T) girder on all floors to a P/T slab and beam in garage levels, and flat slab and P/T beams in the office level. The revised approach was more efficient to build and offers more aesthetic flexibility for tenants who want open space or exposed ceiling type finishes.
Cost, Time Savings DPR was awarded the $25 million contract to perform all formwork and concrete work on the project with in-house crews. The resulting savings to the owner were substantial–shaving over $2 million from the budget and approximately two months from the schedule.
“We worked with the structural engineer to redesign the entire structure around the formwork system that was different than what most of the players in the market use,” said DPR’s Andrea Weisheimer. The modified formwork system allowed the concrete work to be installed faster and more efficiently, but proved far more complex to design and construct.
“Literally nothing on the entire 25,000-sq.-ft. floorplate is flat,” said DPR’s Kyle Weisheimer. “Everything is at a varying degree of slope or even cross slope. Building that kind of formwork is extremely complicated. The fact that we self-performed the formwork on one of the more complicated structures you will find, and did it successfully, is kind of a badge of pride if you will and speaks to our core value of innovation and thinking outside the box.”
Fundamental Delineator Approximately 55 DPR craftsmen self-performed the concrete formwork and installation of 35,000 cubic yards of concrete on the project, in addition to waterproofing and specialty construction product work. All totaled, DPR has delivered nearly 30 percent of the overall project with in-house forces. “With our in-house services, we can engage from the start and not have to rely on what can be an overwhelmed subcontractor market on some projects,” noted Kyle Weisheimer.
To help successfully deliver the self-perform formwork on the Third+Shoal project, DPR tapped the expertise and knowledge base of vConstruct, which specializes in providing virtual design and construction services, on the latest BIM platforms.
“We used vConstruct heavily on this job to help us coordinate and understand what we were building before we built it,” said Kyle Weisheimer. “We were able to leverage that in-house resource to take on an endeavor that we really hadn’t done before, and to do it successfully.”
Paul Byrne, director of construction at Cielo, said DPR’s ability to undertake the largescale self-perform contract delivered big benefits to the project’s bottom line.
“By having self-perform capabilities, DPR offers the expertise of a true builder on every project,” Byrne commented. “We saw this on the Third+Shoal project with concrete operations; from the onset, the team worked collaboratively through a target value design approach to yield the most effective solution given cost and schedule constraints.”
Collaborative Mindset In addition to the project team’s strong technical design and construction know-how and their willingness to innovate, the owner, design and construction team share a collaborative mindset that helped drive the project forward since it began in 2015, according to Andrea Weisheimer. “It’s been a collective team effort to constantly look at ways to improve what we’re doing,” she said. “The goal is to have a beautiful building, but to do it a lot faster and a lot leaner. Our collaboration tools on this project really have made that possible.”
Greg Brooke, senior vice president of development with TIER REIT, pointed to that spirit of collaboration and teamwork as key success factors on a project that is now just months from completion this fall. “The DPR team we’re working with has a very strong teamwork and problem-solving mentality, and we could not be happier with the result so far,” he said. “When things come up, the team usually comes back with an appropriate and cost-effective recommendation.”
“The fact of DPR self-performing the work, really it’s seamless,” Brooke added. “I think we all row in the same direction. I think we’re going to finish this on time, on budget. It’s a huge success for us.”
In 2016, DPR’s Gretchen Kinsella gave birth to her daughter at Banner University Medical Center Phoenix (BUMCP), in one of the very same rooms that she helped build back in 2004. Gretchen is DPR’s youngest project executive in the Phoenix region, managing the largest project that DPR has ever built in the area—the $318-million BUMCP.
When she started at DPR as an intern in 2002, Kinsella’s first full-time project at DPR was Banner Good Samaritan Hospital (now BUMCP). She was given a lot of responsibility, because she asked for it. She continued to raise her hand for challenging projects as she progressed to becoming a project engineer, project manager and project executive.
And 15 years later, she chose an OB/GYN that delivers at BUMCP because she felt there was no better place for her personally to bring her daughter into this world. She was coming full circle, with the child she gave birth to at the site of the project she helped create.
Today, Gretchen reflects on her special moment, and shares how passion for her work empowers her to be her best self, making her the best mom that she can be.
Read Gretchen’s full story, “How to Ask for What You Want and Find Your Voice in a Male-Dominated Industry,” on ENR.