Turner Construction Develops Jacksonville State’s First Public-Private Partnership
New Jacksonville State Fitness and Wellness Center to Enhance Student Experience
A new marquis Fitness and Wellness Center on the campus of Jacksonville State University (JSU) in Alabama is rising from the ground and promising to enhance the student experience.
“We decided to build this facility to recruit and retain our students,” says Charles R. Lewis, PhD, Vice President for University Advancement and Executive Director of the JSU Foundation. “When students look at a campus, they are looking for these sorts of amenities. We also are building it to improve the health of the Jacksonville State community.”
The $32 million, 102,000-square-foot building features an indoor pool and a shallow outdoor pool and social area, four gymnasiums, a weight and fitness area, a wellness center with cardio equipment, an elevated walking track, racquetball courts, a 40-foot climbing wall, gaming areas, group exercise studios and locker rooms, and a lounge area for students to relax or study between classes.
“It will be one of the highest climbing walls in Alabama universities,” Lewis says. “We built this space with a lot of input from our students. They wanted a place for fitness and a place for social engagement.”
The university plans to expand its intramurals programing, adding a new program for fitness and moving the kinesiology program closer to the fitness center.
A Public-Private Partnership
The fitness center is being developed through the first public-private partnership undertaken by JSU. The university has entered into a 40-year ground lease with the JSU Foundation, which will finance, construct, operate and maintain the fitness center. After construction, CENTERS of Washington, D.C., will manage the facility and all recreational activities on campus. The university will pay a fee annually for debt reduction and management of the facility, Lewis said. The foundation entered an agreement with the Public Educational Building Authority of Jacksonville to issue the bonds and construct the structure.
JSU Foundation has partnered with Brailsford & Dunlavey, a national program management and development advisory firm based in Washington, D.C., to serve as program manager. The firm gathered information on campus about student needs and conducted a survey of students, faculty and staff to refine the project concept.
JSU Foundation selected architect Moody Nolan of Columbus, Ohio, to design the building and civil engineer 4Site of Huntsville, Alabama, to provide engineering services. Moody Nolan designed the structure in Revit.
“It’s a unique structure for our rather classic campus,” Lewis says. “Moody Nolan has tried to capture some of the angles and brick work on campus. While the fitness center does not look like anything else on campus, it blends with the existing buildings on campus. We think it will create a wow factor for students coming onto campus.”
As a P3 project, the foundation could hire Turner Construction Co. in Huntsville, Alabama, as the construction manager-at-risk (CMR) contract with a guaranteed maximum price. Turner is a North America-based, international construction services company. Since opening its office in the city in 1955, Turner Construction/Huntsville has played a significant role in the Huntsville community.
Turner participated in preconstruction activities and value engineering.
“We’ve been very pleased with Turner and their work with us to come in at or under budget,” Lewis says. “They are really moving quickly.”
Lee Holland, Project Executive with Turner Construction, adds that Turner is finding more clients turning to similar unique P3 delivery methods and enabling firms to enter into CMR deliveries.
“We have been part of the team, working on cost and schedule, quality and life-cycle cost,” Holland says. “That is the success story behind this project having the construction manager on the team during design to provide input. It’s been a great experience.”
Turner is building the project at a quick pace. Work began in October 2017, and completion is planned for January 2019. The team is working all winter.
“A lot of effort has gone in to making sure it’s complete by January,” Holland reports. “We are on track to do that.”
Turner is using Lean construction principles to boost efficiencies, eliminate waste and create a safer job site. That includes Last Planner Scheduling sessions, in which the entire team comes together and develops the schedule. Subcontractors and the Turner team are carefully planning and executing the work and using daily huddles, pre-task planning and identifying critical safe behaviors to enhance safety.
“This project incorporates Turner’s Building LIFE Program, Living Injury Free Every day,” Holland says. “We’re trying to make the job safer and more productive. We are seeing great success, with everyone planning and working together.”
Turner completed the earthwork before the rainy season, getting the project off to a good start.
“We are a proponent of when you disturb the earth, you protect everything you have done,” Holland says. “There is gravel on the pad, and we have placed the concrete slabs. It’s cleaner and safer.”
The building sits on a spread-footing foundation. The steel frame is rising from the ground. There are conventional long span joists for the basketball courts and pool areas.
The rock-climbing wall will attach to a structural component. A specialist in building such walls will construct the rock wall.
The exterior is mostly glass, with brick and metal trim.
“People will be able to see the mountains during the day, and at night people can see in and the excitement of what is going on,” Lewis says. “Because of the height of the climbing wall, there is a pronounced upward angle where the wall is located. There will be glass, and people will be able to see that, too.”
Holland called the Fitness and Wellness Center a marquis project with complex elements. Always a company leading the way with technology on job sites, Turner has added QR codes to signage at the site, so students can pass by the exterior fencing and receive updates on their cell phones.
“We think this will be something of pride and excellence and will help us increase the number of students on campus and keep the students here,” Lewis concludes.
- Owner: JSU Foundation, Jacksonville, Alabama
- Program Manager: Brailsford & Dunlavey, Washington, D.C. and Atlanta, Georgia
- Architect: Moody Nolan, Columbus, Ohio
- Civil Engineer: 4Site Huntsville, Alabama
- Construction Manager at Risk: Turner Construction Co., Huntsville, Alabama