Industry News

Staff | September 28, 2010

San Mateo, Calif. — The design/build team of McCarthy Building Companies Inc. and LPA, Inc. have completed the College of San Mateo (CSM) Science Building and Planetarium.

The project is the first to be constructed under the new rules of California Assembly Bill (AB) 1000. That bill provides guidelines for constructing design/build projects for community college districts.

To expedite the project, McCarthy used a multistage "fast-track" process. The first stage: mass excavation, earthwork, site pad preparation, and relocating the main campus utility lines. Second stage: completion of the Science Building. Third stage: construction of the planetarium.

The 62,000-square-foot, three-story Science Building houses lecture halls, faculty offices and laboratories and meets the needs of the astronomy, physics, earth sciences, meteorology, biological sciences, and chemistry departments. The facility also features a planetarium and an observatory with a retractable roof for several fixed telescopes.

Santa Ana, Calif. — A group of Mission Viejo homeowners have dropped their appeal of a landmark court decision in a construction defect lawsuit. The verdict in the "sulfate attack" case is now final. Last year, an Orange County Superior Court judge ruled in favor of defendant National Ready Mixed Services Co. after 19 homeowners asked for more than $5 million in damages (roughly $265,000 per home) for defective concrete foundations.

In his ruling, Judge David C. Velasquez said the plaintiffs failed to demonstrate that the defendant concrete suppliers had supplied defective concrete or that the concrete had subsequently been damaged by external sulfate attack as the plaintiffs had claimed.

The trial, which lasted nearly a year, resulted in a complete victory for National and rebuffed the "junk science" allegations of sulfate attack. Judge Velasquez subsequently ordered the plaintiffs to pay $508,638.80 — $26,770.46 per home — in defendant court costs.

Walnut Creek, Calif. — ERM (Environmental Resources Management) has signed a multimillion-dollar remediation contract for the Sacramento Rail 8 yards redevelopment project, which will result in significant expansion of downtown Sacramento. The contract spans 30 years of cleanup and monitoring to prepare the site for mixed-use redevelopment by S. Thomas Enterprises of Sacramento, LLC, the new property owner. ERM's project director Ben Leslie-Bole stated, "Thomas Enterprises has embraced a bold plan for revitalizing the historic rail yard property. ERM is delighted to be a significant member of the dynamic redevelopment team." ERM has been providing site investigation and remediation services at the 240-acre site since 1991.

Redlands, Calif. — The San Bernardino County Museum has begun a $6.7-million, 12,400-square-foot, three-story addition. The add-on facility will be called the Hall of Geologic Wonders and will feature an exhibit that should be of interest to visitors who have not experienced an earthquake before. Museum-goers will feel a simulated earthquake on the powerful San Andreas Fault while being taught how the local area's landscape has been affected by the fault. It won't be difficult to discern the difference between the simulated and a real earthquake, however. That's because the real San Andreas Fault lies less than one mile to the north of this museum, and seismologists predict a devastating temblor of 8.0 magnitude or above anytime between now and the next 10 to 50 years. Work is expected to be complete on the new project by spring 2008.

Auburn, Calif. — With the focus on flood protection in the Sacramento area, debate has been revived over constructing a 685-foot-high dam on the American River some 40 miles north of Sacramento. Originally approved by Congress for construction back in the 1960s, a moderate earthquake in 1975 showed a fault line beneath the area of what would be the Auburn Dam. Construction momentum halted because of those concerns. Those in favor of new construction talk about flood control protection. Those opposed cite danger of collapse in an earthquake. Bottom line: If construction goes forward, the cost of construction could be higher than $10 billion, according to a report issued by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. Debate will continue for some time. Source: Associated Press

Redlands, Calif. — The City of Redlands, 80 miles east of Los Angeles, is searching for funds to build a flood control project that would save its historic Mill Creek Zanja at the same time. The zanja is an irrigation ditch dug by American Indians and Franciscan monks some 180 years ago, and it meanders through a portion of the City. The channel was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1977. But officials say a major storm could threaten Redlands because the zanja would not be able to handle run-off waters. The proposed $63-million project would provide: $10 million for a 25-acre floodwater detention basin; $30 million for a diversionary storm drain; $20 million for a storm drain pipe paralleling the zanja; and $3.5 million to restore parts of the zanja to its historic earthen channel design. Redlands officials are seeking the construction money from two state bonds approved in November.

Oakland, Calif. — Kenworth Truck Company has named its 2007 Kenworth Dealer Council members. The council consists of leading executives from the nearly 300 Kenworth dealerships in the United States and Canada. The council's goal is to help promote program consistency across the dealer network so that every Kenworth dealership provides a superior level of customer service.

The 2007 Kenworth Dealer Council members are: Chairman — Bob Mitchell, Kenworth of Birmingham, Birmingham, Ala.; Jay Ellison, Kenworth of South Texas, Pharr, Texas; Brent Leach, Custom Truck Center, Regina, Sask.; Harry Mamizuka, Bay Area Kenworth, Oakland, Calif.; Gary Mitchell, Kenworth of Pennsylvania, Carlisle, Pa.; Alex Sykes, Cooper Kenworth, Durham, N.C.; and Ron Whiteford, Lower Great Lakes Kenworth, South Bend, Ind. In addition, Kyle Treadway, Kenworth Sales Company in Salt Lake City, Utah, serves as the Kenworth ATD line representative. Each Kenworth Dealer Council member also participates in one of Kenworth's support councils for parts, service and the body shop.