Howard S. Wright

Howard S. Wright had a good background for its construction of the Washington State Department of Information Services (DIS) Data Center and Office Complex in Olympia, Wash. The company has completed numerous data center/office projects, according to Project Executive Paul Snorsky, and it has a long history with the project’s developer, Wright Runstad & Co. of Seattle.

“We have a successful track record with the developer and we work well together,” Snorsky says. “That’s always helpful on a project.”

This experience and strong relationships, in fact, have set the stage for the successful delivery of the project, he notes. The construction of a data center requires “very intense planning,” Snorsky says, but Howard S. Wright has the capabilities and expertise required to complete the work in a quality manner.

“Coordination and planning is key in a project like this,” Snorsky says. “We’re doing a lot to keep our neighbors and the other nearby state institutions happy, but that’s not a big deal. This project is going well because we’re so well organized.”

Much of this organization comes from Howard S. Wright’s use of BIM, he adds. The company has used BIM technology on numerous other projects, and has found that it informs the schedule, improves constructability issues and enhances communication – all of which are important for successful project delivery. 

“We use BIM tools to overlay the structure, and we have GPS equipment on our excavators,” Snorsky explains. “With all of this technology, we can make sure that we’re putting everything in the right place and our work remains organized.”

On Track

Work on the DIS Data Center began in August 2009 and is on schedule to be completed this summer. The complex consists of a six-story, L-shaped office building and a three-story west wing that will include the 132,503-square-foot data center. Howard S. Wright also is constructing a two-level, 300-stall underground parking garage and a two-level, structural steel utility building, and is installing sidewalks, bike lanes and a newly landscaped roundabout.

The 245,000-square-foot office complex will have a conference center, training center, a bicycle parking and shower facility, and space for retail and a restaurant or cafeteria. The data center – with cast-in-place exterior walls and steel floor systems – will have four data halls that are engineered at nine megawatts with redundancies built in.

This project is located on the State Capitol Campus in Olympia, on a site that formerly served as a visitor parking lot. Designed to complement the rest of the campus, the DIS buildings will be clad with stone, glazing and metal.

“The start of the project was a lot of work because we had to complete the mass excavation – 300,000 cubic yards of earth was removed,” Snorsky says. “But the rest of the work has been smooth. Right now, we are finishing the tenant improvements in the offices and completing the lobby finishes, which involves installing very large, custom-made pieces of art glass from Germany. We wrapped up the site and architectural finishes at the end of May and started the punchlist process in June.”

Transparent Management

Howard S. Wright has been working in the Pacific Northwest market for more than 125 years. The company says it has become a leader in construction innovation, services and technologies by abiding by its founding principle of “hard work, done right.”

On the DIS project, Howard S. Wright has demonstrated this principle through collaboration, Snorsky says. “We maintain good contact with subs, and get help from the subs to have a good budget from the start,” he says. “We partner with the subs, owner and architect from preconstruction and throughout the project in an integrated fashion, and that helps us deliver quality work, on time and on budget. We are very collaborative – that is how we work through issues.” Howard S. Wright’s key partners include Highley Group and Northwest Millwork.

The use of BIM, he adds, does even more to encourage collaboration. As the project’s general contractor, Howard S. Wright has hosted BIM models for all of the different trades, and it has partnered with the design team throughout the course of construction to ensure all of the work is executed properly. 

“We are known for our transparent management of projects, which attracts clients to us,” Snorsky says. “We partner with the owners and designers to find solutions to issues.”

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