Bogner Construction Co.

Bogner Construction Co. has been around for 114 years and it has remained family owned and operated just as long. It also boasts a list of repeat clients with whom it has developed relationships for the past century. In fact, Ohio’s The College of Wooster, which was the University of Wooster when Bogner first performed masonry work there, repeatedly has hired Bogner to work on its campus since 1901. To date, Bogner has performed 30 jobs new projects and total facility renovation projects for the college, as well as hundreds of smaller projects, including additions, remodeling, partial renovations and site improvements. Now it is back for its current, but likely not its last major construction project at the school.

“We’ve done projects for them every few years and for quite a while we were working on a new project every year,” says Ted Bogner, president and third-generation owner. “It [has] been a tremendous partnership over the years. If you’re building your 30th major building for someone, it’s safe to say they trust you and you trust them.”

That statement is echoed by Wooster’s president, Grant Cornwell. “This is my fifth year at the college, and I have come to appreciate the absolutely unique relationship between Wooster and Bogner,” he says. “Our years of partnership in building this beautiful campus together have created a sense of trust that I consider rare and precious.”

This time around, The College of Wooster has entrusted Bogner with building the Scot Center – a new campus recreation center set for opening in January 2012, but on target for substantial completion Dec. 2, 2011. As the project’s construction manager, Bogner has worked closely with the college and the college’s contracted architect and specialty engineers since 2005 developing the project’s program. Before laying a pencil to the paper, the owner and project team visited nearly a dozen peer institutions, gathering attributes from each one and combining them into the final Scot Center design.

The owners settled on a 124,458-square-foot student campus recreation center that will include four multi-activity intramural courts; an NCAA-regulation, 200-meter running track; indoor long jump, triple jump and pole vault pits; a fitness center with work out machines and free weights; locker rooms and new athletic department offices and conference/meeting rooms. The state-of-the-art facility will be a haven for students, staff and faculty who want to live an active lifestyle on the convenience of their own campus.

Many say that any major construction project is nearly a miracle to pull off these days. And while the Scot Center’s original design already included a fair amount of features and amenities, the school decided to push the design even further. “Like all projects of this size where construction is happening in the middle of the college, you have to anticipate challenges,” Bogner says. “But what was special about this project were the changes made to the project.”

Rather significant changes, at that. The school decided to integrate hardscaping and landscaping into the project so it could blend into the entire campus rather than seemingly stand as an isolated building. Roadways, decorative brick sidewalks and an amphitheater were added to the project’s surroundings.

“The goal was to integrate it into the balance of the campus,” Bogner says. “It’s an absolutely gorgeous campus with mature old trees and the college celebrates lots of brick. The school wanted to create an amphitheater and a lot of the original design and landscaping elements were upgraded to bring them more into context with the balance of the campus.”

Here Comes the Sun

The other major change made well into the shop drawings stage affected the Scot Center building itself, and when it’s complete, it will make its mark on the entire nation. A 20,000-square-foot solar array is a significant feature in the building’s final design. Bogner says changes were made to the design’s original steel bearing capacity so it could handle the load of a photovoltaic system. The 1,200-panel system will be the largest solar array on any college building in the nation, capable of producing 271,000 kilowatt hours of electricity a year. It not only has a major financial impact, the solar system is also a key piece to the project’s LEED Gold certification target.

“It will generate power equivalent to run a large residence hall for an entire year, so it’s quite a savings for the college,” Bogner says.

Bogner is confident the Scot Center construction will earn LEED Gold certification, but the project team is still taking extra precautions with what Bogner calls “cushion points” to help them reach this goal. For instance, the project’s original completion date is set for January 2012, but through aggressive scheduling and “wonderful project teamwork”, he says the project is already three weeks ahead of schedule and on track  for its substantial completion with the entire project built and furnished by early December.

At that point, the project’s commissioning agent will perform a total system flushout by turning the air over in the building 10 to 12 times. “The reason we wanted to get ahead of schedule was to pick up an extra LEED point by completing the total system flushout,” Bogner explains. “Turning the air over 10 to 12 times will remove all residual fumes from any of the construction processes and any emissions from the furniture, fixtures, and equipment. It will get that all out of the building.”

Despite major changes made to the project’s design and schedule, Bogner says for a project of this size and complexity, the team performed without any compromise to the schedule. The owners contracted architectural firm MacLachlan, Cornelius and Filoni and sports design consultant Hastings + Chivetta. The subcontract work was administered in 19 different bid packages, and Bogner says the company had no problems finding skillful specialty subcontractors. Bogner submitted up to six firms for each bid package and the owner, architect and specialty engineers each reviewed and edited the list before final selection.

“Everybody understands what we expect and that we have high standards,” he says. “You don’t do the amount of work we do without being known for high quality standards. “A general contractor is only as good as their worst subcontractor. Therefore, we don’t just look for quality of installation. We also look for quality of management, quality of field operation and quality of safety policies and all those little things [that] have an impact on the end product. We are a firm believer that hiring contractors with a great attitude has the greatest impact on producing a quality construction project. We’ve picked a good team, because [as of Nov. 1], we have worked 212,700 man-hours without a lost-time accident.”

Revisit and Renovate

Working in Ohio since 1897 and maintaining a quality reputation for just as long, Bogner Construction Co. tends to earn work from many of the same clients. Along with the hundreds of projects it has delivered for Wooster, Ohio-based The College of Wooster since 1901, the company has maintained a century-old relationship with a number of other clients. They include the Ohio Agricultural Research & Development Center, the Gerstenslager Co., the Wooster Brush Co., Wayne County Commissioners, Wooster Area Chamber of Commerce, Wooster City Schools, the City of Wooster and PNC Bank.

The company, which is now in its third generation of ownership with a fourth generation also working in the company, is led by President Ted Bogner and his cousin Robert Bogner, vice president, secretary and treasurer. They are grandsons of company founder Theodore I. Bogner.

In the past couple of years, Ted Bogner says the company has had the pleasure of renovating seven projects that were originally built by his grandfather. He says the experience reminds him and others at the company why they are involved in the construction business, especially during times such as these. “If you don’t get excited about putting something where nothing has ever been before or taking an old building and bringing it to modern standards, and something an owner can use, then you are in the wrong business,” he says. “It has to be about more than the monetary reward. Being able to look back at something our family started 114 years ago is what keeps us energized; and in these tough times, that is very important.”

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