Ratcliff Construction Company

After working on projects such as the Mount Olivet Chapel renovation and restoration in Pineville, La., and First Baptist Church in Jena, La., Ratcliff  Construction Co. has proven its capability on religious construction projects. It is working on its first project with Crossroads Church in Lafayette, La. As of August 2011, the project is more than 80 percent complete. 

“We have a reputation for finishing on or before our deadlines,” Project Manager Reginald DeLoach says. “In the design/build arena, we have a lot of clients that come to us because of our expertise and our past performance history. And in the hard-bid arena, we make sure to never bid on a project we don’t feel comfortable building.”

Crossroads Church of Lafayette, La., traces its history back to a small congregation who gathered in the humble home of its founders, Gabe and Annie Welch. It was more than 60 years ago and since then the church has grown with each passing year. In 1957, the church moved from the Welch’s home onto Moss Street in Lafayette. It soon outgrew that building and purchased a third facility in 1981.

It made significant renovations in 2004, and, in a response to a growing membership, it is constructing a new 49,000-square-foot worship center complete with a 1,500-seat auditorium, office space, a café and a bookstore. The church posts pictures on its website of the weekly construction progress, which DeLoach says is on track for completion this October.

The new building will be connected to the current facility. The old building will be used for classrooms and other services will be moved into the new construction. The project was designed by Lafayette-based architectural firm Architects Southwest as a partial clear-span metal building with a structure steel lobby connected to it. “We have a metal building structure that we have married to a structural steel structure,” DeLoach explains. “Trying to make those two components work together was a big task during the shop drawing phase. It took a lot of coordination to make sure the two components would mesh together.” In the end, the construction team linked the metal and steel through a series of expansion joints.

The exterior is 98 percent complete with the glass front doors, exterior plating and metal skin installed. The interior is roughly 90 percent complete. Drywall application is complete and the construction team is now applying paint to the walls. The inside will feature Ipe wood, which is a costly material upfront that pays off with its above-average durability.

Ipe wood is twice as dense and five times harder than most woods and has a natural high resistance to rot, mold, termites, abrasion and weathering. It also has a Class 1 fire rating from the Uniform Building Code, which is the same rating given to concrete and steel. In addition to its functionality, Ipe wood is also aesthetically pleasing with its rich, dark brown color that resembles mahogany.

The interior also features an elevated stage made from eco-friendly recycled rubber material. It’s typically used as sports flooring for athletic and exercise facilities, as well as playgrounds and day care centers. However, many owners whose buildings’ floors see a lot of use   find its scratch- and stain-resistant surface useful, as well. 

Additionally, the recycled rubber flooring is a benefit to the environment since the flooring is made from recycled tires. Instead of sitting in a landfill, the tires are ground and transformed into something useful. Also, making flooring out of recycled rubber vs. virgin rubber typically takes less energy and water and results in less pollution.

Project Cooperation

As the project nears completion, DeLoach explains that the construction benefited from several major factors – good weather, an accommodating design team and a good construction team. The project began Aug. 14, 2010, and until mid-July 2011, the construction team was able to take advantage of some unusually dry weather. 

“In a way our construction team has been blessed with the drought,” he says. “However, recently, the area has received some much needed rain, but since we are doing interior work now, it hasn’t affected any critical path schedules.”

DeLoach says the entire team from the owners and architect to each subcontractor working on the site have all contributed to the project’s success. “The architectural team at Architects Southwest have been wonderful to work with,” he says. “Everybody has been communicating very well and everyone is working great. We have frequent meetings and a monthly program meeting with the owner. The owner is on site every day in their existing facility and they have been great to work with.”

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