Mar 09

“Women in Construction Week” Jobsite Tour

As part of NAWIC’s Women in Construction Week festivities, the Greater Gainesville Chapter took a tour of the new GRU (Gainesville Regional Utilities) Eastside Operations Center.  The nine building facility totaling nearly a quarter of a million square feet, will house the head office for GRU’s various utilities units for energy, water, wastewater, telephone & data networks.

Bentley Architects and Engineers based in Longwood, Fl. is the design firm for the project and Skanska is the construction manager.  Skanska also oversaw construction for the Shands Cancer Center, another high profile project for Gainesville.

It was a beautiful spring day as Collin King, project engineer for Skanska showed us around. Collin was a gracious host and passionate about the project.  We were in for a hike as the buildings are sprawled out over 65 of the 125 acres GRU purchased for the facility.

The buildings are designed to achieve LEED Silver certification.  One of the energy saving features will be the ability to pull in natural light by using a KalWall translucent insulated wall system. Part of one building will have a “green roof” with soil and plants as well as benches to utilize the space as a break area.

The unusually cold winter affected the tilt-up construction panel schedule. As the temperature dropped below freezing several times, there was trouble curing a couple of the concrete panels.  But, so far there has been no issue with getting labor or materials in a timely manner, so Collin was confident the project would stay on target for a September substantial completion date.

Skanska estimates that construction will employ 500-600 people and that 65 percent of the construction costs are going to local subcontractors. It is certainly much needed work for our area and it was great to see so many trades at work.

We would definitely like to take Collin up on his invitation to come back out in a few months and check out the progress.  Thank you Collin and Skanska for having us.

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