Texas & Louisiana On the Scene: May 2020
In early March, Sundt Construction hosted a hard hat tour of the historic Blue Flame building in downtown El Paso for Executive Forum, a group of women leaders from the community. Sundt is nearing completion on the project, which includes the complete renovation of the iconic 18-story former home of El Paso Natural Gas. The renovation of Blue Flame is part of the Housing Authority for the City of El Paso’s (HACEP) initiative to revitalize affordable housing communities in its portfolio throughout the metro area.
While Freese and Nichols’ almost 900 employees were working from home due to restrictions following the COVID-19 outbreak, urban planner Lauren Garrott was among staff who continued their commitment to volunteer work. She helped the Houston Humane Society Pet Pantry distribute pet food and supplies at its first-ever drive-thru event to reach pet owners facing financial hardship.
The pantry typically operates at the Humane Society shelter, but it started mobile outreach at locations in the community to extend support during stay-at-home limitations and increased need. The first event provided more than 2,000 lb of pet food for 100 families.
Garrott has been volunteering at animal shelters since middle school and helped at the Austin Humane Society before moving to Houston in early 2020.
Gibbs Construction sponsored an unCommon Construction build day in late 2019. Company leaders and employees joined forces and volunteered to work alongside the program’s apprentices and become part of the build team for a day. The unCommon Construction program brings youth together from different high schools to earn hourly pay and school internship credit by building a house during a semester.
Build Days are high-energy, coordinated events where uCC apprentices are positioned as leaders of adult volunteers. Volunteers provide uCC’s high school apprentices the opportunity to flex their leadership muscles as they are guided through the unCommon build process.
Over the last month and a half, CallisonRTKL’s Dallas office has used its materials and expertise to fabricate personal protective equipment using open-source designs approved by the NIH. This could prove pivotal in fighting COVID-19 if existing stocks are depleted and medical workers have to resort to improvised means of protection. The office has two Ultimaker S5 3D printers, which are now located in an employee’s home office. The machines have been printing around the clock. CallisonRTKL Dallas has distributed over 400 face shields to the local community hospitals and across the nation wherever PPEs have been depleted.
PGAL architect Colleen Brown uses her measuring tape and PGAL-branded face mask for work on the 18,500-sq-ft renovation to the company’s corporate headquarters in Houston. The photo was taken in what will be the new Materials/Resource Library. The space will be updated to help merge the need for physical samples with a growing digital environment. A new presentation/pin up zone will have space for both virtual reality and physical pin-ups of drawings and materials, allowing designers to collaborate in whatever work style they are most comfortable. The project is expected to be complete by July.