Whittenberg Construction – Village Promenade Student Housing Ball State University

For nearly a century, Whittenberg Construction has been demonstrating leadership in the construction industry in the Louisville and southern Indiana region. Founded in 1924 and based in Louisville, Ky., Whittenberg has experienced decades of success because of its attention to detail, quality, safety, budgets and deadlines.

“As a project manager, my role is to successfully manage projects,” Project Manager Seth Cook says. “From the date a project is handed off for construction to start, we manage all aspects of the project until it is complete and until any warranty period is over.”

Whittenberg can provide its clients with an array of services, everything from general contracting, construction management, concrete trades and design/build to budgeting and value-engineering, BIM, green building, lean construction and preconstruction. It has experience in working in many environments, from education, healthcare and hospitality to industrial, commercial and entertainment.

Modern Living

One of the company’s signature current projects is the Village Promenade student-housing complex, designed by Carras-Szany Kuhn & Associates Inc. The Village Promenade project is located in Muncie, Ind., in the village next to the campus of Ball State University. The project consists of two separate buildings covering a full one-and-a-half city blocks on a 2.5-acre site. In total, the buildings contain 522 beds in 226 apartments. 

In addition, the $60 million project includes retail space and a number of amenities. These include a courtyard, swimming pool, outdoor rooftop movie screen, 24-hour fitness center, green roof areas, a plaza and community rooms.

“The developer on the project is Investment Property Advisors LLC,” Cook says. “The developer has built a number of these student housing complexes, and we have worked with them on several. They look at need and demand based on university and city needs, and they know where these kinds of projects are likely to thrive.”

Construction started on the project in September 2013, and it will be completed in time for students to move in by August 2014. The buildings are situated on top of a concrete slab that is built one story up from the ground level. The apartment structure is wood framed. The exterior of the buildings will be a custom-made, 16-inch-wide brick. Courtyards ensure that every bedroom and living room has a view to the outside. 

“One of the interesting aspects of the project is the provision of green space for tenants,” Cook says. “There are four lower-level green spaces with landscaping. Both buildings also feature rooftop amenity areas with landscaping.”

By the end of June, the project will be moving into its final work stages. Exterior masonry work will be a major aspect of the project as it nears completion. 

Work on sidewalks, entry drives into garages, patio space and other site work also needs to be finished. 

“Over the next few weeks, we will be working hard knowing that we have to hit our dates to have everything done in time for students to move in,” Cook says. 

Hurdling Obstacles

Although the project has progressed at a good pace, there have been challenges to overcome. One of those challenges is the location of a nearby six-story municipal parking structure that the project team needed to work around.

“Our footings are right next to its footings, so we had to coordinate with the city and various contractors, architects and engineers,” Cook says. “We essentially needed to know the documents for two projects.”

The biggest challenge for the project was a harsh Indiana winter. The project endured about a month of delays to the project schedule due to difficult winter weather. 

“We’re still fighting through the schedule delays, which has required a bigger effort on the part of our subcontractors and employees,” Cook says. “Fortunately, communication has been very open so we can deal with any issues and get answers quickly. The owner and engineers are also very knowledgeable about the ins and outs of this kind of projects. That has been helpful as we’ve looked at the schedule and worked through the delays.”  

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