Fraser Construction – University of South Carolina Beaufort Hospitality Management School Project

Fraser ConstructionFraser Construction is on schedule and in control with USCB’s Hospitality Management Campus expansion.
By Bianca Herron

Joe Harden founded Joe Harden Builder Inc. forty years ago as a general contractor specializing in construction for the hospitality sector. Today, the company is known as Fraser Construction Company LLC

The Bluffton, S.C.-based company over the years expanded its service offerings to include design/build, sustainable buildings and construction management, while retaining a strong portfolio of hospitality and clubhouse projects.

“We’re really good at managing high-end commercial projects and provide a high attention to detail,” Vice President of Operations Jay Fraser says. “Although some companies are low cost and others are high in production, we like to think we’re the commercial version of a high-end homebuilder.”

With each project, Fraser Construction aims to make its customers happy by providing them a superior building and the best service. The company’s 35 employees play a critical role in its success. Fraser also notes that the small but mighty team allows the company to be nimble and pivot when necessary.

“We’re a mid-sized contractor,” he says. “We don’t have regional satellite offices or huge headquarters. We’re the right size for the kind of work that takes place along the coast of South Carolina and Georgia.”

On Schedule

Fraser Construction broke ground on its latest project, the University of South Carolina Beaufort (USCB) Hospitality Management Campus, in April. Located in Hilton Head Island, S.C., the campus will be USCB’s third, joining its main Hilton Head Gateway campus in greater Bluffton and its historic Beaufort campus.

The planned facility will house USCB’s hospitality management program including undergraduate education, a center for the hospitality industry and executive education, a teaching and learning facility for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute and a civic gathering place. Fraser box

The Lillio Architecture design for the facility will also feature state-of-the-art classrooms, a demonstration kitchen, beverage laboratory, fabrication laboratory and classrooms for distance education. Fraser Construction anticipates completion in fall 2018.

“This is a college of hospitality where a student goes to learn how to be a resort manager, bartender or chef,” Fraser says. “The facility will feature a demonstration bar, which will have folding doors that open into the foyer. This area will serve as part of their pre-function space. I’m guessing they will use the space to teach Mixology 101.”

USCB’s facility will also feature natural light from a three-story curtain-wall system. “It will be lit up by the foyer, which is full of wood paneling and glulam beams,” Fraser explains. “There will also be a bridge going across the foyer. A glass conference room will also be included in the area, and underneath the bridge there will be a wood-paneled café/coffee bar.”

Additionally, the test kitchen will have several ovens and boast many AV components, such as televisions and cameras to showcase various angles on what professors cook, notes Fraser. “There will also be a lot of neat study pods throughout the hallways to foster collaboration between students during their free time,” he says.

This is the first higher education project for the company, according to Fraser. “We are learning about building information modeling,” he says. “We have wanted to delve into this space for a while and have jumped in with two feet. We’re now in the process of putting the mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems in place.”

He adds that Fraser Construction has completed several buildings with USGB LEED certification; however, the company is attempting to achieve Green Globes certification with this project. “This will be a sustainable building overall,” Fraser says. “Green Globes is a sustainable rating system that we think is interactive, flexible and affordable, and will provide market recognition of the building’s environmental attributes through third-party verification.”

Working Together

As the general contractor for the project, Fraser notes “the players we have on board are collaborating and doing great work.” He adds that the company’s role is to act as a communicator and proactively solve any problems that arise.

“We have longstanding relationships with many of the subcontractors on this project,” Fraser says. “When you’re literally working on an island, you have to figuratively and literally try not to burn bridges. Communication is critical for us.”

He notes that there’s “a lot of creativity” being put into this project with the help of the architect and owner. “I have to give credit to Liolio Architects and Proslab Concrete for doing a fantastic job on this project,” Fraser concludes. “The USCB School is poised for a lot of growth, and this new campus will help spur that.”

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