Rutgers University’s Livingston Campus – Century 21 Construction
Century 21 Construction (C21), a contractor based in Clifton, N.J., is working with a team of strategic partners, engineers and architects on a major construction project at Rutgers Business School (Rutgers). Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, recognized the need for additional, modern facilities to fit an increasing number of students at its school of business. The school’s solution: The Livingston Campus.
Working in partnership with renowned international architecture firm Ten Architectos, C21 is overseeing the construction of a contemporary building with five stories of educational space. “Our team has been on site since November 2011,” says Dawn A. Lucas, executive project manager for C21 on the Livingston Campus project. “We broke ground with an aggressive excavation and foundation commencement schedule in the pending inclement weather. Our completion date is mandated for August 2013.”
When completed the $55 million building will stand 82-feet high. Livingston Campus’ unique design consists of two five-story towers, with the fifth floor extended across the divide, linking the two. The fifth floor link is supported with 28-inch diameter columns that hold the floor 64 feet above a campus roadway. The interior boasts classrooms, lecture halls, a library, common areas and offices occupy a total of 155,800 square feet.
Smart but Challenging Design
Ten Architectos has integrated green-design principles into the layout of the building to offer energy savings and reduced carbon emissions. The northeast side of the structure features glass walls, allowing natural sunlight to enter the building, offering heat and light. The southern face of the building is more enclosed, blocking heat transfer from the more intense afternoon sunshine.
Livingston Campus, in addition, is advanced with sophisticated insulation and low-pressure fixtures to reduce water waste. Much of the energy used to run the building will be sourced through the university’s seven-acre solar farm.
The layout of the building is unique and efficient, but has presented some challenges in execution. In step with the green design of the building, a Geothermal Mechanical Borefield was engineered and installed by C21. “The scope consisted of drilling 320 borewells at 500-foot depth as a ground heat exchanger and support of energy systems for the MEP infrastructure of the new business school,” explains Lucas. “Upon completion of the wells, piping and everything else, the newly graded lawn and softscape have become a pedestrian walkway between the dining halls, student center and vital educational halls.”
In addition to the vertical construction on the campus, C21 is revamping the infrastructure on campus, including utilities and roads.
“Our site is very tight and access is limited because we’re on an active campus,” says Lucas. “We’ve developed a sophisticated transport plan to deal with these ongoing coordination issues without allowing progression to be compromised. Further, we are concurrently integrating a new and/or upgraded roadway design and road surface [overall separate contract awarded by Rutgers] that will be active between the two buildings and some critical campus wide components and overall site improvements of the Livingston Campus and main thoroughfare of Avenue E and Joyce Kilmer roads.”
The structure itself has been no cakewalk, but Lucas affirms that her team at C21 is up for the challenge. “C21 and our subcontractors have successfully constructed the footing and grade beam foundations, which were massive and interlaced, as a result of high water table considerations and shale, with intricate structural connections,” cites Lucas. “The highlight was the erection and connection of the 28-inch diameter skewed columns supporting the suspended fifth floor.”
Building a Team
“The new business school design has had complicated elements to incorporate within a short timeline schedule,” explains Lucas. “Of course, all contractors were aware of these mandates during the bid considerations. We’ve been very fortunate wherein C21 years of construction expertise has afforded us the ability to use relationships to our advantage. Such value trumps price in some cases to ensure C21 a reputation for quality, value-engineered projects.”
C21 requires subcontractors to be financially stable, with specific capabilities for the job at hand as reflected in a 100-percent successful inspection and contract testing compliances. “I acknowledge the necessity to trust and respect your guys in the field,” says Lucas. “As a project executive, you have to do things based on protocol and there will always be something that takes priority and may become an unpopular directive, but C21 is the end of the line when it comes to accountability to the owner. Therefore, as I orchestrate the project schedule, on site and in the field with my internal team, C21 takes seriously the responsibility to promote resolution.
“There are always problems and/or an unanticipated complication within a construction project,” continues Lucas. “When you have an issue to overcome, you need to be able to rely on your team. I am very fortunate to be surrounded by skilled and earnest tradesmen to complete installations of the highest quality and finished construction elements of the building.”
The Livingston Campus project is committed to the August 2013 successful turnover to the owner for the team’s ability to receive new and returning students in the fall. “We are substantially complete with the main infrastructure of the mechanical, plumbing, fire protection and electrical installations of the building,” says Lucas. “We are now focusing on all distribution elements of these disciplines, that being the mechanical, electrical and plumbing installation stage.”
With a broad background in industrial, commercial, retail, institutional, healthcare and residential construction, C21 is well prepared for a range of complex projects like those for Rutgers. Strong leadership and relationships keep the team going, developing a quality finished building on schedule. Rutgers now boasts a unique addition to the campus. Thanks to all partners, especially Century 21 Construction, Livingston Campus will continue to offer an unusual, modern learning environment to students in Rutgers Business School for years to come.
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