Feeling the Recession - East Texas builders welcome work
Higher education Linbeck�s Scott says there is an active capital campaign at Rice University in Houston, where his firm is wrapping up construction and tenant build-out of the $200-million BioScience Research Collaborative, which is designed for LEED-gold certification.
“It’s the largest project Rice has ever done,” Scott says.
Linbeck also is completing the $100-million North Colleges residential facility for 600 students at Rice University. The team aims for LEED gold. It used a concrete with 70% slag from coal plants and features white brick, a green roof and fully piped, prefabricated bathrooms to speed construction and simplify maintenance.
While Rice as a private school has been able to access money for building, public schools may face more diffi culties.
“The biggest problem we will have with public universities is that the Legislature didn’t approve tuition revenue bonds, which is a primary funding source,” says Chris Peck, vice president of McCarthy Building Cos. in Dallas. “It’s certainly going to slow, at least in the short run, public university construction.”
JE Dunn is building the $9-million, 41,966-sq-ft Richard and Lucille DeWitt School of Nursing building at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches and the $8-million, two-story, 30,000-sqft Cemo lecture hall for the University of Houston.
Llewelyn-Davies Sahni is working on design for a six-campus, $480-million program at Houston Community College. Projects include creation of a HUB building and a public security institute, as well as master planning a 10-acre campus in the southeast part of town.
Gilbane Building Co. of Grapevine, Texas, is working on a multipurpose library building and central plant at Texas A&M University-Texarkana.Gilbane did not respond to requests for more information, but the Texarkana Gazette reports it’s a $75-million project.
Hensel Phelps broke ground last year on the $161.5-million, 393,000-sqft Dental Branch building and adjacent
Biomedical Research and Education Facility at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston.
Port and industrial activity
McCarthy Building has three port projects under way.
“We’ve seen solid activity on the Gulf Coast in terms of port construction,” Peck says.
McCarthy began construction earlier this year on a $100-million extension of the existing Bayport Terminal Complex at the Port of Houston. It also will allow for a substantial increase in container cargo traffic. More than 900 cased piers will support the concrete wharf extension. McCarthy recently received a $35-million contract to build a yard for those cargo containers. The project is a continuation of an expansion McCarthy completed in 2007.
At Port Freeport, McCarthy is midway through construction of the Velasco Terminal Phase I Berth 7, an 800- by 109-ft wharf supported by 796 auger-cast piles, reaching to depths of more than 100 ft. The project will allow the port to unload 730 additional ships annually. McCarthy is not releasing cost on the Freeport project.
The Bechtel Jacobs Joint Venture, a partnership between Bechtel Corp., which has an office in Houston, and Jacobs of Pasadena, Calif., continues work on the $7-billion Motiva Port Arthur Refi nery Expansion Project. The expansion is scheduled to come online early in 2012.
Federally funded projects
U.S. Army Engineers, Louisville District, plans to build a new Armed Forces Reserve Center in Tyler. Work has not started yet, but $29 million has been appropriated to build the center. The federal appropriations bill also includes
$4 million for the Columbia Regional Geospatial Service Center System at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches.
Big Creek Construction of Hewitt, Texas, broke ground on the Texas Department of Transportation’s fi rst major project funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, a $7.5- million upgrade to FM 60 in Burleson County.
Other mobility projects funded, at least in part with stimulus funds, include a $57-million tollway in Tyler and a $397-million tollway in Houston. Also in Houston, TxDOT plans to build $50 million worth new ramps on BW 8, to reconstruct a portion of IH 10 and to rebuild part of IH 610, all with stimulus funds.