Industry News

Staff | September 28, 2010

A $100-million vocational school for Springfield, Mass., will soon be under construction. The city recently selected consultant PinnacleOne to provide owner's project management services for the construction of a 350,000-square-foot expansion of the R.L. Putnam Vocational Technical High School. PinnacleOne will manage the budgeting, planning, procurement of design, bidding, and prequalification of contractors for the project at the school, the first public school to use and comply with new Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) regulations that were finalized in August 2006. As part of the Springfield Public Schools system, the second-largest school district in New England, the R.L. Putnam Vocational Technical High School serves 27,000 students and provides courses in culinary arts, construction, design, cosmetology, nursing, allied health, auto mechanics, graphic arts, and computer/technology repair, among others. The school expansion, which features "green building" design, is expected to be completed by September 2010. Consultant PinnacleOne, a subsidiary of ARCADIS, is headquartered in Phoenix and has locations in six states including offices in Boston, Mass., and Hartford, Conn. Its staff, which includes construction managers, architects and engineers, is involved in more than $10 billion in public construction.

A $53-million runway has just been finished and placed in service at Logan International Airport in East Boston, Mass. General contractor McCourt Construction Company of South Boston was given the notice to proceed in August 2004 for the new 5,000-foot runway 14/32 at Logan, which serves Boston and the greater New England area. Operated by the Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport), Logan is America's sixth busiest airport, and handles domestic flights and international connections to and from the Pacific Rim, Europe and Latin America. Located on the southern end of the airfield, runway 14/32 is the sixth runway at Logan and was built to accommodate regional jet and non-jet traffic and improve arrival flow to the airport during certain weather conditions. Planning for the new runway began over 30 years go and since 1995 has been the subject of more than 100 public meetings with over 3,000 interested parties. Included in McCourt Construction's contract was 270,000 cubic yards of unclassified excavation, 403,000 cubic yards of embankment and 90,000 cubic yards of pavement excavation. Crews also repaired 10 miles of pavement cracks, placed 150,000 tons of hot mix asphalt and applied 50 miles of 4-inch-wide pavement markings. Other work involved installing two miles of reinforced concrete drain, three miles of underdrain, nearly 60 drain structures, more than 80 electric manholes, and 70 miles of power and communication cable. Massport says the new runway will reduce overall delays by about 25 percent and in certain wind conditions will cut delays by almost 90 percent. Runway 14/32 is a unidirectional runway, meaning aircraft arrivals and departures will occur over Boston Harbor.

New England Workforce Housing, LLC selected North Branch Construction of Henniker, N.H., as construction manager for the new $4.7-million Squamscott Block (affordable housing) in Exeter, N.H. Located in downtown Exeter at the site of an existing parking lot abutting a bank, the Town Hall and a church, the new building will be constructed in three phases to allow the bank to stay open during the work. The new four-story, 32,600-square-foot building includes 2,600 square feet of retail space on the first floor and 30 apartment units on the remaining three floors, with a structural steel and concrete parking deck. Archetype, PA of Portland, Maine, designed the building with brick veneer and precast concrete to fit in with existing structures in the area. Construction will be completed in the fall of 2007.

Construction could begin on a new $300-million City Hall if Boston Mayor Thomas Menino has his way. Speaking at a Chamber of Commerce meeting recently, the mayor proposed selling the existing City Hall located on a 9-acre lot in the old Scollay Square/west end of Boston and constructing a new municipal building on city-owned land at the fast developing South Boston waterfront. Building a new City Hall could also lead to the construction of additional transportation facilities to serve some 1,200 City Hall workers. At present, the proposed site for the new City Hall is served only by a bus line. However, officials believe that a new light rail service would be needed to provide access to the relatively remote site. The mayor believes that developers might be willing to pay as much as $500 million for the land at the existing City Hall, which was built in the mid 1960s. The imposing "brutulist" structure (a blocky, massive concrete architectural style) was part of a new development built over infamous Scollay Square, a sordid section of Boston's old West End that housed several burlesque houses. An estimated 1,000 buildings were torn down, forcing some 20,000 residents to relocate. The neighborhood was renamed Government Center.