Pioneer Construction - L. William Seidman Center

When constructing a new facility, owners should not only consider the building’s future, but also the effects it can have on neighboring structures. Grand Valley State University (GVSU) has examined both for its new L. William Seidman Center building in Grand Rapids, Mich.

The building, which is nearing completion, spans 127,643 square feet and stands four stories. It will house the Seidman College of Business, 15 new classrooms and workspaces for multiple departments, including the School of Accounting.

GVSU Assistant Director Bob Brown adds that the facility will enable the college to free up space in other buildings. With its completion, he explains, GVSU can open up areas in its DeVos Center and relocate the College of Education.

Pioneer Construction Inc. has served as the construction manager on the $43.5 million project, which was not its first time working for GVSU. “They’ve done several major projects for us,” Brown says, noting that past projects include the DeVos Center.

The university hired New York City-based Robert A.M. Stern Architects for the project. “This is our first experience in dealing with an internationally recognized architectural firm,” he says, noting that GVSU usually hires local firms.

GVSU also hired local architectural firm Integrated Architecture to provide local support to the project team. Even though the tight project budget presented numerous challenges to the design team, the final product provides a beautiful Stern design with the classic attention to detail.

A Firm Foundation

The project team had to demolish another building that was already on the site, Brown says. During the demolition process, Brown says, the concrete was crushed and the aggregate graded to meet Michigan Department of Transportation specifications.

Afterwards, the aggregate was used as the load transfer base for the center’s new controlled modulus columns (CMCs) foundation system. This marked the first use of CMCs in west Michigan, Brown says.

According to Pioneer Project Manager Scott L. Veine, the CMC method helped the team cope with the site’s subsurface, which was considered to be a Class II contaminated site. When it was implemented, he explained in a report, the CMC was placed in a counter-clockwise drilling method.

“This eliminated mass quantities of Class II contaminates coming to the surface,” he describes. “The CMC is designed to compress subsurface materials in a grid-style fashion, which is the main priority of counterclockwise drilling.”

More Work Ahead

This spring, GVSU will start moving people into the center, Brown says. Additionally, site work will continue on through the spring. “We’re doing a lot of backfilling,” he notes.

Pioneer also is renovating GVSU’s four-story library. Construction occurs on the library after classes have ended for the day.

Exceptional Work

Based in Grand Rapids, Pioneer also specializes in general contracting, design/build, commercial interior, sustainable building and pre-construction planning services throughout the continental United States. “[We build] exceptional facilities that perform for our clients ... on time and in budget,” it says.

The company employs more than 200 craft and trade professionals who allow the firm to keep projects on budget and schedule. “With expertise in a variety of delivery methods – including general contracting, design/build and construction management – we customize our approach based on the specifics of each project and the goals of our clients,” it says.

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