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Viasat | Office Building and Dry Labs

Viasat Black Hills Office Building and Dry Labs | Germantown, MD

In September of 2020, DPR completed a ground-up, three-story office building for Viasat on a six-acre site in Germantown, MD. Designed by Gensler, the facility is the new home for 150 engineers and support staff for the satellite internet provider.

Project Details

The project consists of open office spaces, conference facilities, employee amenity spaces, SCIF offices, meeting rooms with RF shielded secured areas, engineering labs and testing chambers, support spaces, and a rooftop satellite dish array. The building is structural steel framed with a curtainwall, brick and composite metal panel exterior envelope. In addition, the project includes a 200-car structured parking garage and extensive sitework.

Pandemic Response

In the midst of uncertainties brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, DPR overcame a variety of challenges to complete this project. Effects from the pandemic hit the Viasat team in March of 2020, well into the project and during a time of critical project activities. In compliance with local and state government mandates, the jobsite was initially shut down for three weeks. Once work resumed, construction workers had to be six feet apart at all times. The team utilized data from CMiC to visually identify the project shutdowns and any lost productivity to create a consensus around a realistic end date for the project.

“COVID-19 was one of the biggest challenges and most uncertain situations I’ve ever encountered in my career. The entire team’s ability to adapt to the environment that COVID created for us was phenomenal"

Stephen Hatch

Viasat Project Manager, Levine Investment Owner Representative

To adapt to the pandemic’s challenges, the team utilized a large shell space inside the new building that allowed them to conduct daily meetings with trade partners while maintaining a safe distance. The team relied on virtual tools to continue to keep the lines of communication open between all stakeholders. Daniel Burson, DPR’s project manager, noted, “Viasat’s West Coast headquarters is in Carlsbad, CA, the building owner and architect, Gensler, are both located in Phoenix, AZ, and the project itself took place in Maryland. Even before the pandemic, we were utilizing video conferencing, so we didn’t skip a beat when everyone else was going virtual for the first time.”

Project Challenges

Pandemic effects aside, a constructability challenge was the significant amount of earthwork that had to be done early in construction. Breaking ground in early 2019, the team overcame the challenge of mass excavation during the wettest year on record for the area.

Project Success

Ultimately, the project was completed in Fall 2020 with plaudits to go around. “The DPR team’s adaptability and consistent communication throughout the course of this project were impeccable,” Hatch said. “Their reporting techniques were clear and never left me with questions on cost or schedule.”

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