PROJECT COST: $198 Million

Consolidating the two campuses of Gateway Community College - the Long Wharf campus in New Haven and another in North Haven, Conn., began last December with the $140 million construction of a single downtown New Haven campus, scheduled to finish in May 2012. Although the project owner, the Connecticut Department of Public Works, has budgeted $198 million for the overall project, the actual construction cost is $140 million.

Gateway Community College Consolidation/Relocation
Rendering Courtesy of Gilbane Construction Co.
Gateway Community College Consolidation/Relocation

The new campus will occupy two city blocks where landmark department stores Macy's and Malley's once stood. Two four-story concrete and steel buildings, designed by Perkins + Will of New York, total 360,000-sq.ft. A bridge spanning George Street will connect the two buildings, allowing students and faculty to move from one building to another. Because of limited exterior space, designers have tried to create a campus-like atmosphere internal to the building, says Robert P. Van Akin, Operations Manager of Gilbane Building Co.,'s Glastonbury, Conn., office.

The project is seeking LEED Gold certification, which would be a first for a state-funded building.

With 6,500 credited students and 4,000 non-credit students, the fast-growing college, with the second highest number of students in the state's 12-commmunity-college system, has long been in need of more space. Nearly all its programs will be consolidated into the downtown campus, except for its automotive technology program, which will remain at the North Haven campus.

Although state and city officials are touting the new campus as an economic boon to the central business district, it offers construction crews their own set of challenges such as staging and receiving delieveries in such a dense area.

Another challenge is a rebuilding a tunnel, long used by surrounding businesses for deliveries and trash pickup, which runs though the site. Contractors will need to coordinate its temporary shutdown with neighbors. Once rebuilt, the tunnel will resume serving the area including the new college.

Among the project's milestones was the concrete work, which started last February, and this spring the project reached sub-grade, followed by mat foundations on the ground. Erecting structural steel is expected to begin in June, with the pre-cast garage starting in June or July, Van Akin says.

Gilbane has been involved since 2006 as construction administrator. State officials originally intended to award the contract to a general contractor, but over time officials decided to use a Construction Manager at Risk. Because Gilbane had already been deeply involved in the project, it could not bid on the contract because of a conflict of interest. Gilbane stayed on as administrator when Dimeo Construction Co., of New Haven, was named Construction Manager at Risk.

Key Players

Owner: CT Dept. of Public Works, Hartford, CT
Construction Manager: Dimeo Construction Co., New Haven, CT
Architect: Perkins + Will, New York
Civil Engineer: Stantech Consulting, Hamden, CT
Structural Engineer: Thornton Tomasetti, New York
MEP Engineer: BVH Integrated Services, Bloomfield, CT
Construction Administrator: Gilbane Building Co., Glastonbury, CT