Greene County Career Center (GCCC) engaged Shook in its initiative known as “Take Flight” which was developed to prepare students and adults in Greene County with the skills and knowledge necessary to compete in today’s global economy. Specifically, the educational programs focus on Career Technical Education and Workforce Development around the key tenets of the Dayton Region (Engineering, Manufacturing and Information Technology). This effort expanded upon the current offerings of the Career Center resulting in a new facility to house the Take Flight technologies and all current GCCC programs. The new facility provides an academic environment for up to 900 students from seven county schools, encompassing Grades 11-12 throughout the day as well as adult programming.
Successful completion of the project included site selection, site access and transportation, appropriate building capacity, advanced building technology, and building security measures. The project, which spans the length of nearly four football fields, required adaptable labs to accommodate the ever-changing educational and training needs of the region. Among the 25 labs created are spaces for programs such as Veterinary Science, Multi-Media, Construction Technology, Culinary Arts, Automotive Technology, Sports and Exercise Science and more. One of the most unique features of the building is a two-story, 6,700-square-foot drone flying arena with a flight deck and robotics training equipment. The “Take Flight” arena serves as the main architectural showpiece for the Career Center as it welcomes students and visitors immediately upon entering.
Early in the project, the Owner had broad expectations of their vision without a clear definition of what each program’s curriculum would specifically entail. Courses such as “Take Flight,” Engineering Tech, Robotics, Cyber-Tech, and Drones were all identified as future courses, but they were lacking established curriculums as well as teachers to forge the path. The Owner had established a $6.7M budget for furnishings without knowing what those furnishings needed to be and we had a facility to build in which we didn’t know how it was going to be used. As such, the lack of a defined curriculum led to a delay in equipment purchasing.
Through extensive collaboration and, ultimately, by simply listening, our design-build team was able to extract the pertinent information so that we could enter into the design phase and establish a clear path forward. Rough-in pathways—for power, air, gas and more—without equipment specifications required Shook and our subcontractors to remain flexible as the Owner provided the necessary information when it became available. After a careful review of the conceptual plan, we partnered with the Owner to find ways to create future flexibility for adding additional labs that could align with the ever-changing needs of the workforce. We proved our ability to build something that allowed the Owner to be flexible while not changing the infrastructure of the facility.
Early in the project, Shook faced challenges with the site’s existing soil conditions, as they were made up of a 40% moisture content that was 2.5 times the original soil samples. Added to the challenge was addressing this issue during the cold, winter months. We ultimately overcame the challenge by utilizing lime drying and cement stabilization. Despite the solution costing an additional $2M and adding work, Shook stayed on target for our completion schedule and budget. Rammed aggregate piers were installed to support both the foundation and the slab, which were instrumental in solving the poor soil conditions for the site. However, installing such an extraordinary number of piers (1,121) created a new item to overcome: underground conflicts. Shook utilized our in-house VDC Manager to gather survey points to create an existing 3D underground layout for all trades to coordinate the underground components without conflict with the aggregate piers. These efforts allowed for off-site prefabrication of underground components while the on-site foundations were installed, ultimately saving Shook four weeks of onsite critical path activities.
3D coordination was also utilized throughout the inside of the building to allow MEP trades to begin off-site prefabrication. This reduced the on-site installation duration required and essentially doubled our workforce, as we had crews on-site and some off-site preparing materials and installations for future activities. MEP prefabrication included plumbing carriers in the bathrooms, 20-foot pipe racks above corridor ceilings, mechanical room piping, electrical rough-in, and metal stud framing. Each day, multiple trucks delivered prefabricated items ready to be installed in the building, allowing us to keep the project moving forward quickly.
To meet the aggressive schedule set by the owner, it was extremely important for everyone to have the most current information to avoid any rework. A 70-inch Clevertouch monitor was utilized in the construction trailer with an up-to-date set of blueprints and 3D model for all the trades to use at any time. The 265,000-square-foot building was completed in just 16.5 months whereas typically a building of this size takes 30 months to complete. From the onset of the project, Shook knew this fast-tracked timeline would be difficult. To meet the schedule, we set clear expectations with subcontractors making sure areas and material were onsite and ready when needed. Onsite storage for material was identified so no deliveries were ever turned away. Additionally, our crews discussed and utilized other time-saving measures such as adding moisture reducing admixtures into the concrete to allow immediate installation of floor finishes. With the speed of the project, we identified the importance of moisture mitigation in the concrete from day one and knew we could not wait for the typical process of concrete curing for flooring installation.
Steady focus on the schedule as well as steady communication between the project team and our subcontractors helped make this project a success. After 16.5 months, an average of 225 workers on-site, and 585,000-manhours, our team not only completed the project on time but also did not have a single recordable incident during construction. This was a result of setting clear expectations, actively managing the work, obtaining buy-in and partnerships with the subcontractors, and planning for safety using daily JHAs (Job Hazard Analysis). Shook also returned just under $1M of contingency to the Owner, proving to be good stewards of the budget.