The Dallas Arboretum Parking Garage – Rogers-O’Brien Construction
- Written by: Tom Faunce
- Produced by: Ryan Fecteau
- Estimated reading time: 4 mins
As the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden became more popular with the addition of the Rory Meyers Children’s Garden and other exhibits, the arboretum determined a new parking garage was necessary to accommodate the increasing number of visitors. For general contracting services on the project, Rogers-O’Brien (RO) Construction was commissioned to build the 460,000-square-foot, five-story Dallas Arboretum Parking Garage (DAPG). The planning and construction process consisted of a two-year period with construction beginning in October 2013 and concluding in November 2014.
The work for DAPG included demolition of the existing surface parking lot, landscaping and construction for the new structure that provides 1,150 parking spaces. With two floors below grade, the parking facility features three floors above-grade and a 156-foot long pedestrian tunnel underneath Garland Road, providing safe access for visitors to the urban public garden.
Teamwork equals success
Tim Storms, senior project manager for RO Construction, acknowledges that although the DAPG project presented numerous challenges, the job was completed in a relatively smooth manner, with multiple success stories. One major success, he says, is the fact that all electrical conduit is encompassed in in the concrete slabs and walls, hiding it from view. “The conduit runs through the precast columns and panels that make up the structure of the garage,” says Storms. “An extended amount of time was spent up front to coordinate the location of conduit and sleeves through the precast and cast-in-place structures.”
As far as obstacles faced in the construction of DAPG, securing a safe and convenient access route to the park from the facility became the project team’s biggest challenge. RO Construction looked at two different approaches: An open cut to Garland Road to create the tunnel from the top, or to bore the tunnel, allowing Garland Road to stay open. “We chose the second option,” recalls Storms. “This created zero impediments to traffic during construction. The excavation of the pedestrian tunnel as well as loading in and out of materials was all done on a single vehicle ramp.”
With the overall style, look and theme designed by architectural firm Good Fulton & Farrell (GFF), the aesthetics of DAPG were a priority. Exterior cladding materials and a skylight in the pedestrian tunnel required significant coordination between RO Construction and the design team. “The process was very collaborative and GFF was a great partner in the construction of this facility,” says Storms. “The overall appearance of the garage meshes well with the existing Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens.”
The lattice work at the front of DAPG remains the focal point of the facility’s design as it simulates the natural experience of garden vines — a nod to the arboretum itself. An additional unique feature is the patinated copper panels, which were custom-fabricated and shipped from Europe. “These panels could not be duplicated in the United States and had to be installed correctly the first time,” Storms explains. “All of the details were worked out prior to material shipment to ensure proper quantities were ordered and the final appearance per the design team was met.”
Building upon history
Founded in 1969, RO Construction has firmly established itself as a leading contractor in Texas by providing a wide range of construction and preconstruction management services. With locations in Dallas, Houston and Austin, Texas, RO Construction’s unique approach consistently results in high-quality buildings in a variety of market sectors, exceeding the most demanding operations.
“Success at RO Construction is measured by our commitment and adherence to our company’s core values,” says Justin McAfee, vice president of the company’s Dallas branch. “Those values consist of integrity, a strong safety culture, commitment to quality, surrounding ourselves with the best people, providing excellent customer service and always finding a better way. These attributes make us who we are and serve as the guiding direction for the decisions we make every day.”
The success of RO Construction will transition into the next era as baby boomers prepare for retirement and millennials enter the workforce. Greeting the new generation with open arms, RO Construction encourages and accepts the creation of ideas that challenge traditional ways of thinking. “When we have somebody with those good millennial traits, we let them run with an idea,” says Ken Dunham, vice president of human resources. “Our experience is that this puts us in the winner’s circle with competitors and in the driver’s seat with clients.”
By delivering accurate estimates during preconstruction and anticipating and preparing for challenges, Rogers-O’Brien Construction brings a level of commitment to acting with integrity and communicating openly with every client. This approach has and will continue to garner success for the company in a variety of industries.
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