Kitchell – Solano Community College

Kitchell picKitchell manages the delivery of two new educational buildings for Solano Community College with a third underway.

By Janice Hoppe-Spiers

With its roots in general contracting and construction management services, Kitchell was selected to provide program management services for three design/build buildings for Solano Community College in Fairfield, Calif. In 2012, Solano Community College embarked on a $348 million multi-year construction program to support the construction of new buildings, renovation of existing buildings, infrastructure improvements, site acquisition and equipment purchases and selected Kitchell CEM to manage the program.

Three of the recent projects are being delivered by the design/build process. The first two – the Biotechnology and Science Building at the Vacaville Center in Vacaville, Calif., and the Automotive Technology building at the Vallejo Center in Vallejo, Calif. – were completed summer 2017 for fall occupancy. Solano Community College’s main campus is in Fairfield and where the third design/build project, the Science Building, is now under construction.

Kitchell was chosen to manage the bond construction program because of its long-term stability and financial strength, which have allowed it to achieve many milestones and continue to raise the bar for the entire construction industry. Headquartered in Phoenix, Kitchell is a set of companies all related to construction and facilities.

Kitchell CEM (capital expenditure management), headquartered in Sacramento, Calif., provides services primarily to public sector clients. Its services include program, project and construction management services, as well as planning/condition assessments. “We have an in-house engineering and architecture services group and an in-house estimating group, which provide support services,” Program Manager Pam Kinzie adds. “There are CEM regional offices in the Bay Area, in southern California and Phoenix. Additionally, we typically have project teams located with or near our clients.” Kitchell box

Design/build has become a popular delivery method choice for larger projects and Kitchell was one of the first construction management firms to use it for vertical projects, Kinzie notes. “Many of our staff are Design-Build Institute of America (DBIA) certified professionals,” she adds. “We have just received our second DBIA National Best Practice Project Award.”

Biotechnology and Science

Solano Community College was approved to offer a four-year biomanufacturing baccalaureate degree program to address a shortage of training programs for the biotechnology industry in California. “Community colleges normally don’t offer four-year baccalaureate degrees,” Kinzie says. “Where there is a shortage of workers, the state has allowed community colleges to apply to develop a four-year degree program. Solano Community College is one of two community colleges in the state that was approved to offer a four-year degree in biomanufacturing.”

The Biotechnology and Science Building is located at Solano Community College’s Vacaville Center, a few blocks from Genentech Inc., a biotechnology corporation. Kitchell broke ground on the project in April 2016 and was substantially finished in July 2017 for the start of the fall semester.

The $26.1 million project included the design/build of higher education classroom labs, including four biotech labs, three chemistry labs, two biology labs, wet and dry anatomy labs and lab prep areas. The 32,088-square-foot building also includes faculty offices, student dialogue areas, a conference room, concession stand, lobby/reception area, building support spaces and exterior seating.

“This spectacular new facility will help launch our students into the next decade of biotechnology and science education,” said Dr. Celia Esposito-Noy, superintendent and president of Solano Community College. “By modeling labs and processes used by neighboring biotechnology companies, the college is working to give graduating students an advantage in the job market.”

Construction of the Biotechnology and Science Building went smoothly because of the high-quality design-oriented architect, SmithGroup and high-quality contractor, R&S Construction and high-quality construction manager Swinerton Management and Consulting. “Science on display was a design goal and there is a lot of glazing, which allows views into the labs from the exterior, central corridor and common spaces,” she adds. “Visitors from nearby universities have said the labs rival those of their institution.”

Automotive Technology

Solano Community College re-instituted its Automotive Technology program in 2014 after a 15-year hiatus, securing a temporary facility and an experienced full-time instructor to get the program off the ground. The college invested bond funds as the program gained traction to develop a state-of-the-art training center.

Clark Sullivan and JK Archiecture were selected to design and build the new Automotive Technology Building with Swinerton also selected to provide construction management services. The new facility houses 11 instructional service bays with vehicle lifts, two alignment bays, dyno stations, tire changing/balancing station, mezzanine storage and two lecture classrooms. The 35,845-square-foot facility also includes and intervening demo bay, tutoring/conference room, faculty offices, lobby and vehicle display area, parts storage, vehicle staging area and a vehicle bay for state “smog referee.”

The $18.8 million project broke ground at the Vallejo Center in August 2016 and the project was substantially completed in August 2017 for the start of the fall semester.

Solano Community College’s Automotive Technology Building was built on an aborted neighborhood shopping center, so site utilities and some paving had been installed, but no buildings were constructed. “The abandoned site had been stripped of anything valuable, such as wiring, manhole covers and some site lighting poles,” Kinzie remembers.

In addition to those challenges, the contractor worked through the unusually heavy rainy season to deliver the project on schedule. The state-of-the-art teaching facility is LEED Gold-certified and the college is in discussion for potential dealer partnerships for training programs.

Science Building

Design/build contractor DPR, with architect HGA, broke ground on the Solano Community College Science Building in August and construction is about 10 percent completed with substantial completion expected by November 2018. The Science Building located at the Fairfield Campus is expected to be a LEED Silver facility with some photovoltaic panels on the roof.

The 44,249-square-foot higher education lab and classroom building will include three chemistry labs, three biology labs, wet and dry anatomy labs, two physics/geology labs, lab prep spaces and two lecture rooms. The $29.2 million project will also feature faculty offices and support spaces, a central courtyard, veterans’ center and building support spaces.  

As Kitchell continues to work on the Science Building, the company says collaboration is key. “We have learned that when we are dealing with specialized and uncommon equipment such as bioreactors, we need to engage all parties in the design phase to work through all aspects of what will be needed for a successful installation in detail, bringing in additional expertise if needed,” Kinzie says. 

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