Empowering Our Partners

Investing in our industry’s future isn’t just important, it is essential.

And whether we’re building big jobs like New York City’s redeveloped LaGuardia Airport Central Terminal B or smaller but no less important projects in markets across the country, we need to ensure we have qualified subcontractors on which we can call to get the job done.

To that end, we created our Construction Management Building Blocks (CMBB) program, a free, multi-week course designed to give minority- and women-owned business enterprises (MWBEs) the tools and knowledge needed to secure contracts and create jobs. Now in its 10th year, the program is initiated, organized and taught by Skanska USA in areas of need across the country.  To date, we’ve run programs in Cincinnati, Atlanta, Nashville, Austin, Detroit, Memphis, Tampa, Houston and more – with approximately 1,000 companies completing the course.

One of the more recent graduating classes saw representatives of 34 New York-based companies receive training on the procedures, pre-qualifications, certifications, project requirements and contracting opportunities associated with the LaGuardia Airport Central Terminal B redevelopment project, our largest global project ever. The graduates – some attending weekly from as far away as Syracuse, NY – add to the growing list of MWBEs that are now able to qualify for bidding on current and future redevelopment work at LaGuardia and at other projects throughout the New York Metro and upstate regions.

Nearly 35 New York-based companies graduated from Skanska’s Construction Management Building Blocks Program, a seven-week course designed to create opportunities for minority- and women-owned business enterprises.

On November 10, 2016, 34 New York-based companies graduated from Skanska’s Construction Management Building Blocks Program, a seven-week course designed to create opportunities for minority- and women-owned business enterprises.

“Skanska is committed to the vision set by Governor Cuomo to increase opportunity for minority- and women-owned business enterprises across New York State,” said Thomas Nilsson, Vice President and LaGuardia Central Terminal B Project Officer, Skanska USA. “The Building Blocks program is an innovative and vital investment in the MWBE community that represents the future of Skanska and the construction industry in New York.”

The program was made possible through Skanska’s partnerships with LaGuardia Community College and the NYC Department of Small Business Services.

“This collaborative and timely program reflects our commitment to helping women- and minority-owned small business owners have the knowledge and ability to compete for construction contracts, specifically those emerging from the rebuilding of LaGuardia Airport,” said LaGuardia Community College President Gail O. Mellow. “LaGuardia Community College and LaGuardia Airport share the same namesake – and we are proud to further support Fiorello H. La Guardia’s legacy to ensure that people of all backgrounds have access to the same opportunities and our city has a world-class airport.”

“One of New York City’s greatest strengths is its rich diversity,” said Gregg Bishop, Commissioner of the NYC Department of Small Business Services. “Mayor de Blasio is committed to ensuring that city contractors reflect this diversity and I am proud to support this work. Our department is here to help all minority- and women-owned businesses who want to learn more about how to do business with the city.”

Graduates of the Construction Management Building Blocks (CMBB) program will have the opportunity to bid on contracts associated with Skanska's work on the redevelopment of LaGuardia Airport's Central Terminal B.

Graduates of CMBB are provided the knowledge and tools required to bid on Skanska contracts, such as the redevelopment of LaGuardia Airport’s Central Terminal B, above.

On November 10, 2016, we completed our first-ever CMBB course in the growing Pittsburgh market, in partnership with the University of Pittsburgh. Skanska’s expansion to Pittsburgh was an outgrowth of successful CMBB sessions at Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania State University and Rutgers University in New Jersey.

“We are committed to creating jobs and sharing best practices in the communities where we work,” said Skanska USA General Manager Ed Szwarc. “By partnering with University of Pittsburgh, we offer underrepresented businesses the opportunity to expand, gain valuable operational skills and take their careers to the next level.”

While participation in CMBB does not guarantee future contracts, it provides a platform for contractors to interact with industry professionals and city and state leaders to receive information and training on how to bid on contracts. It additionally provides an opportunity for subcontractors to develop relationships with industry professionals and one another, forming bonds and strategic partnerships for the future.

“The Construction Management Building Blocks Program shows just how much Pitt cares about being a good neighbor to the City of Pittsburgh as well as how much we want to reach out to Pittsburgh’s citizens and make a real and lasting difference in the lives of people,” said Scott Bernotas, associate vice chancellor of facilities management for the University of Pittsburgh.

Skanska employees and program participants attend the Construction Management Building Blocks program graduation that took place during Skanska’s Diversity and Inclusion Week. The training program provides small minority-, woman- and veteran-owned businesses with the information and tools they need to successfully compete for subcontracting work on large construction projects.

In Cincinnati, Skanska employees and program participants attend the Construction Management Building Blocks program graduation that took place during Skanska’s Diversity and Inclusion Week in October 2016. The training program provides small minority-, woman- and veteran-owned businesses with the information and tools they need to successfully compete for subcontracting work on large construction projects.

In Cincinnati, the CMBB program graduated seven, local, small minority-, woman- and veteran-owned businesses from its 12-week program in October 2016, arming them with the information and tools they need to effectively compete for subcontracting work on large construction projects.

“This was a wonderful opportunity for a small company like mine,” said Lisa Timley, CEO of Hollywood Cleaning Services, LLC. “To be able to attend a program to enhance all areas needed to grow my business was very beneficial.”

With the proven success and growing desire from small businesses across the country, Skanska and its partners are already engaged in accelerated planning for sessions beginning in 2017.

Skanska USA

Skanska USA

Skanska USA is one of the largest, most financially sound construction and development companies in the U.S., serving a broad range of clients in the public and private sectors, including those in transportation, power, industrial, water/wastewater, healthcare, life science, education, sports & entertainment, data centers, government, aviation and commercial industries.

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We Also Build Smiles

Sometimes Building What Matters takes on a whole new meaning.

Our team at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, FL knew they were building a new research and education center directly across from the hospital’s infusion center where children receive regular chemotherapy treatments for a variety of cancers.  They knew there were kids fighting for their lives in that hospital, watching out the window at the hard hats and construction equipment.

“Every day, you walk into the cafeteria and walk past the kids,” says Assistant Project Manager Brandon Page. “You see the issues they are dealing with from the chemo. And you want to help make their day a little brighter.”

Each Friday, the nurses hold what they call a “Friday Dance Party” with the kids to celebrate getting through another week of arduous medical treatment and to lift their spirits. They play music, dance and – as one nurse puts it – “just let loose and have fun.”

Brandon, along with General Superintendent Todd Collier, Project Engineer Justin Koenen, and Assistant Superintendent Calin Noonan, decided to bring the “Friday Dance Party” outside to the job site, complete with multicolored signs and their best moves. The video from Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital sets up the story:

Shortly after the first Friday Dance Party, Justin bumped into one of the nurses on campus, who told him the following week, November 4, would be the 13th birthday of a young girl named Katelyne – who was also receiving her last chemotherapy treatment that day before being permanently discharged from the hospital where she had lived since June.

Sensing an opportunity, the crew mobilized a banner – which they signed – and mounted a special “Friday Birthday Dance Party” especially for Katelyne, who watched with her family from her window across the way.

Later, some of the crew visited Katelyne in her room. “She teared up when we brought the signed banner in,” said Justin.

Katelyne Ballesteros had a special happy 13th birthday message from the Skanska construction crew she's been watching from her window of Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital. Left to right are Katelyne, Todd Collier, Justin Koenen, and Calin Noonan.

Katelyne had a special happy 13th birthday message from the Skanska construction crew she’s been watching from her window of Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital. Left to right are Katelyne, Todd Collier, Justin Koenen, and Calin Noonan.

“Seeing the kids and the positive energy of the nurses makes this more than just a project,” said Todd. “Everyone on the project willingly and gladly participates, including all of our subcontractors.”

“It’s so sad for these kids to be going through this. I have a four-year-old and I can’t imagine it,” says Brandon. “They’re innocent and they’ve done nothing wrong. To have to go through something like this is unfair. So anything we can do to give back we do. It should be everybody’s responsibility to do the same.”

Take a look at the full photo album of Katelyne’s Birthday – and her last day in the hospital – here.

Katelyne presented our Skanska USA team with this handmade thank you card for their uplifting effort for her birthday sendoff.

Katelyne presented our Skanska USA team with this handmade thank you card for their uplifting effort for her birthday sendoff.

Skanska USA

Skanska USA

Skanska USA is one of the largest, most financially sound construction and development companies in the U.S., serving a broad range of clients in the public and private sectors, including those in transportation, power, industrial, water/wastewater, healthcare, life science, education, sports & entertainment, data centers, government, aviation and commercial industries.

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At Duke University, a Remarkable Transformation

Updating a historic or beloved structure carries its unique challenges.

At Duke University, Skanska was tasked on The Duke West Union project to restore the dining halls at the union building, designed by Horace Trumbauer in 1920, while inserting a new full-service dining environment and activity spaces for students to interact and socialize.  This ambitious renovation began in 2013 and was needed to accommodate a growing student body, while also providing a modern and exciting campus experience.

Skanska Project Manager Will Senner is a Duke alumnus who played a key role in helping to complete the stunning renovation. Constructive Thinking spoke with him about the project.

The Duke Union Dining Hall spaces have remained intact, restored to their original architectural significance, while the core of the building was demolished to allow for a new open atrium, housing a variety of dining venues. A vertical glass south facing wall overlooking the plaza and West Union Quad provides views and natural daylighting. The project is pursuing LEED Silver Certification with sustainability features such as heat recovery wheels, solar hot water heating and storm water collection, and reuse.

CT: Tell us about how you came to work on the project.

WS: I graduated from Duke in 2006 with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering and a Master of Engineering Management. I started with Skanska shortly afterward and spent my first four years in preconstruction. Prior to the Duke West Union project, I worked on the Hunt Library at North Carolina State University and Penn Pavilion at Duke.

CT: What attracted you to wanting to work on the project? 

WS: I am very involved at my alma mater, serving on the board of directors for the Duke Alumni Association and as part of the engineering alumni council. The project was more than about just expanding capacity; the dining program encourages students, faculty, and alumni to share meals with one another to foster a greater sense of community that will benefit students on campus and beyond.  It’s also the most ambitious renovation project the university has taken on to date.

CT: As a Duke alumnus, how did you feel about working on such an iconic building, especially one that would emerge from its renovation so fundamentally changed?

WS: It’s really been an exciting honor. From day one it was evident that the entire team – the staff and administration at Duke, the design team and our Skanska team – was so passionate about what the West Union renovation could mean for the Duke community.  It was a long road bringing the project to fruition, filled with challenges to deliver an architecturally and technically complex building on a demanding schedule. With everything now open, it is rewarding to see the West Union full of life and excitement, building community as it was imagined.

I think the team was successful in preserving key elements of the original West Union – the Great Hall and Cambridge Inn with their amazing wood clad truss ceilings and historic windows – while blending in new modern spaces. Bringing the new and old together is really a central theme in the renovation but it was also quite challenging.

I think the Devil’s Krafthouse is also a great new space. The team’s ideas to use the original Duke Stone exterior walls as an interior finish is unique. The addition of the relics from the demolition process is also a great way to celebrate West Union’s past in a modern, new space.

Plus, the fact that it is located in the same part of the building as the old “Hideaway” student bar seems fitting – I can remember enjoying “E-Kegs” (engineering socials) in what is now the outdoor pub terrace and Crown Commons. It is great to see that space reinvented and to have had a hand in making that transformation.

The Duke West Union (Before and after)

The Duke West Union (before and after)

CT: What were some of the challenges you faced on the project? 

WS: The restoration work itself was very complex. During the demolition phase, the team had to carefully extract the core out of the existing building while leaving the perimeter “horseshoe” intact. We had to cut in more than 50 openings, many of them eight feet wide and more than 20 feet tall, through the 18-inch thick, original load bearing walls which separated the perimeter legacy spaces from the new core area. We had to lower the basement in the “core” area by six to eight feet to accommodate modern air handlers, which required significant rock removal as well as soil nailing of the existing footings on the portion of the remaining building.

We also took painstaking steps to restore key elements of the structure’s façade, including  the “Duke Stone” walls; the more than 300 original windows; the hand-chipped and painted clay roof tiles; and the wood cladding on the steel roof trusses in the Great Hall and Cambridge Inn legacy spaces.

Of course, all of this work took place in the heart of the West Campus, in the shadow of Duke Chapel. We minimized our impact by limiting deliveries to a small service road, coordinating work around the academic calendar, adding sound protection to the windows on adjacent dorms and using sound deadening blankets. We also worked to ensure pedestrian safety by stationing permanent traffic guards and installing signage outside the site that was regularly updated as construction progressed.

CT: What has been the reaction to the new dining hall? 

WS: It’s been very positive and I’m very proud of it. I think the new West Union honors Duke’s history by blending the grand Gothic look with a contemporary design that matches the innovative space. This is a world-class building that continues Duke’s legacy of leadership, innovation, and inspiration.

Skanska USA

Skanska USA

Skanska USA is one of the largest, most financially sound construction and development companies in the U.S., serving a broad range of clients in the public and private sectors, including those in transportation, power, industrial, water/wastewater, healthcare, life science, education, sports & entertainment, data centers, government, aviation and commercial industries.

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A Week to Celebrate Green

This week, Skanska is helping to sponsor Greenbuild in Los Angeles, the world’s largest conference and expo dedicated to green building.

For the 2016 event, Greenbuild will – for the first time – feature a transit project as part of the program: the Skanska-built Expo Line Phase 2, the country’s first-ever Envision-certified light rail project and our first to achieve this celebrated designation.

The 6.6-mile extension of the Expo Line light rail was certified at Envision’s highest level, Platinum, and lays claim to another first: connecting downtown L.A. and the Santa Monica beach by train for the first time in more than six decades.

skanskaexpoline-6314-smaller

Los Angeles’ Expo Line light-rail extension – which a Skanska-led joint venture designed and built – is the first light rail project to be certified under Envision, a sustainable infrastructure rating system gaining in popularity in the U.S. The 10.6-km (6.6-mile) extension was certified at Envision’s highest level, Platinum. Credit: Skanska USA.

Enabling the Platinum certification included specific project aspects such as the significant hiring of local craft labor, sourcing regional materials to the highest standards of the Envision program and integrating the new rail line with other means of transit, from bus systems to bike paths.

“This is a significant milestone for every stakeholder involved in this project,” says Skanska USA Chief Sustainability Officer Beth Heider. “Envision certification shows that no matter what you’re building, it can be built green.”

Helping Shape Envision

Administered by the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure (ISI), Envision consists of a broad range of criteria that address a project’s impact on the surrounding community and environment, technical considerations regarding materials and processes, and other critical choices spanning the project’s lifecycle. In key ways, Envision aligns with how Skanska defines sustainability.

As beneficial as Envision is, the current version is focused on the planning and design phases of a project, with little focus on construction. For the next version of Envision due out in 2018, Skanska has a key role in incorporating construction aspects throughout the system, and in leading the development of four credits focused on construction activities.

Ryan Prime, Skanska USA Civil’s sustainability director, chairs the ISI group overseeing the extension of Envision into construction. He finds his involvement “hugely motivating.”

“Week by week, it is becoming clear that Envision is gaining more and more traction in the industry,” Ryan says. “It makes me very proud to work for Skanska, which affords me the opportunity to be part of a major industry shift like this.”

Ryan adds: “I am also proud of how Skanska does business, particularly with our focus on values. It truly positions us to be a leader in sustainability.”

sk_i_4_orlando_021015_ap_377-smaller

The I-4 Ultimate public-private partnership (PPP) project in Orlando, Florida, is targeting Envision Platinum. Skanska’s consortium is responsible for financing, design, construction, operations and maintenance on this 34 km (21 mile) highway widening and reconstruction project. Credit: Skanska USA.

Everything Goes Back to the Environment

Major pieces of transportation infrastructure – such as bridges, roads and rail lines – might not call to mind environmentally beneficial projects.  U.S. civil infrastructure projects in many ways have been green, but have lacked a way to measure and guide their green activities. Envision provides a holistic framework to do that, enabling projects to aim for higher levels of green performance while also helping achieve broader sustainability goals over the long term.

“We believe that eco-certification helps drive innovation and efficiency, which is positive for everyone involved: our customers, the local communities and the environment, as well as our business,” says Greg Chant-Hall, head of sustainability for Skanska Infrastructure Development.

Deep commitment

As we chart our company’s Journey to Deep Green™, Skanska has made a strong commitment to integrate Envision into our U.S. civil infrastructure projects, similar to how we were among the first to embrace LEED when it was launched in 1998. We are a charter member of ISI, we are part of the ISI review board that oversees Envision, and we have supported more than 60 employees in achieving the Envision Sustainability Professional designation.

Moving forward, all of our public-private partnerships (PPPs) in the U.S. must be either Envision or LEED certified, and by 2020 all of our U.S. civil infrastructure projects will seek Envision certification.

“Skanska applauds USGBC’s announcement at the Greenbuild International Summit of a new relationship with ISI,” says Heider. “We look forward to what these two great organizations will achieve together transforming every corner of the built environment.

Skanska USA

Skanska USA

Skanska USA is one of the largest, most financially sound construction and development companies in the U.S., serving a broad range of clients in the public and private sectors, including those in transportation, power, industrial, water/wastewater, healthcare, life science, education, sports & entertainment, data centers, government, aviation and commercial industries.

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Making A Difference, One Customer At A Time

Long term relationships bear some of the sweetest fruit. For Skanska, we’re most effective when we can develop that deep level of trust and an understanding of our customers’ needs over an extended period, leading to projects that exceed not just the technical specifications of the job, but the personal aspirations of what a job well done really is.

Skanska has been engaged with Methodist Hospital and Methodist Children’s Hospital in San Antonio, TX since 2002.  We are currently working on the hospital’s most extensive upgrades to date – a $205 million set of construction projects that include a seven story children’s tower with its own power plant; an expansion of the adult and children’s emergency rooms;  an expanded central tower for Women’s Health Care and critical care services; expanding the Neonatal ICU to 94 beds and a 13-story garage with three levels below grade.

Methodist Hospital in San Antonio is undergoing its most extensive renovation in its history. Skanska crews are challenged to complete the work on schedule while keeping all facilities operating. Credit: Aero Photo.

Methodist Hospital in San Antonio is undergoing its most extensive renovation in its history. Skanska crews are challenged to complete the work on schedule while keeping all facilities operating. Credit: Aero Photo.

Working at a hospital that serves a 27 county region and 175,000 ER patients every year, the main focus has been on having zero impact on patients and their medical care.

“Our biggest and most important challenge was staging – from entrances open to our work in close proximity to children’s and acute care areas,” said Project Executive Keith Sitzman.  “We recognized early on that the best way to manage the process was with frequent meetings to discuss issues and propose solutions, then communicate to the people using the hospital what they could expect.”

Hospital COO Elizabeth Ortega says one weekly meeting grew into three – and took on the moniker of “Coffee Talks.”

“At first we just wanted to know about what kind of noise we could expect from the project, but it turned into a wonderfully collaborative way to address issues before they became problems,” she says. “In the end, it made us one big team instead of a customer and a construction company. I am very grateful for all that the Skanska team has done to make this project an ongoing success.”

“The complexity of the project is incredible; I’ve never worked like this before,” says Sitzman. “It is technically challenging work; making sure we manage every element of safety. We’re using heavy machinery on the other side of a wall where there are NICU babies who weigh no more than a pound. That makes you much more focused on who you’re building for.”

The staged work will see the NICU, Central Sterile and Supply, Same Day Surgery and the Children’s Emergency Department Expansion open this month. The Children’s Tower will follow in February of 2017. The entire facility is scheduled to be completed in 2019.

2016-09-photo-methodisthospitalgroup1

Elizabeth Ortega (back row, second from left) and her Methodist Team on site at the Hospital.

“What is designed on paper is often very cool, but the execution of it is a different story,” says  Ms. Ortega. “The Skanska team had to figure out not just ‘how are we going to build that,’ but ‘how are we going to do it and not impact the care that goes on inside the hospital?’ You won’t find other contractors who will sit down and say ‘We get it, we need to make sure we keep things open.’ Those guys are my advocates in keeping our facility open and running.”

Ortega says many of the Skanska employees on the job have been there so long, they’re just as much part of the hospital family as they are Skanska.

“Some of them have hospital badges that are just as worn as their Skanska badges,” she says. “This has been a true partnership every step of the way.”

Skanska USA

Skanska USA

Skanska USA is one of the largest, most financially sound construction and development companies in the U.S., serving a broad range of clients in the public and private sectors, including those in transportation, power, industrial, water/wastewater, healthcare, life science, education, sports & entertainment, data centers, government, aviation and commercial industries.

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Now arriving in NYC: Skanska’s completed World Trade Center Transportation Hub

For the last 15 years, lower Manhattan has been under construction. Building after building and milestone after milestone, New York City has been slowly rebounding – and healing – from the events of September 11, 2001. This week, another milestone marked the journey in that process, with Skanska’s substantial completion of six-and-a-half years of work on the World Trade Center Transportation Hub and Oculus, opening the final part of the main passenger hall to the public.

Linking multiple subway and commuter rail lines, the completed Transportation Hub serves hundreds of thousands of commuters every day and contributes to the larger vision of a fully-rebuilt World Trade Center site.

Skanska Project Director Gary Thomson has been there from the start. Standing in the Hub’s soaring Oculus entrance hall, which opened in March 2016, he watched the masses of travelers flowing past him and reflected on his time there.

“Seeing the smiles on people’s faces as they walk through here gives you a sense of gratitude,” Gary says. “This is more than a construction project – this is a memorial for the families of those lost in the attacks. That’s something we felt every day working here. I’ll never build another project with this kind of emotional impact.”

Skanska Project Director Gary Thomson (left) and Project Superintendent Wayne Paliga share stories of more than six years of work in the World Trade Center Transportation Hub and Oculus in New York City.

Skanska Project Director Gary Thomson (left) and Project Superintendent Wayne Paliga share stories of more than six years of work in the World Trade Center Transportation Hub and Oculus in New York City. Credit: Michael Benabib.

Great obstacles

Skanska’s joint venture at the World Trade Center faced unique challenges in delivering the project, most of which is underground. The Hub’s main section sits below the National September 11 Memorial, which opened in 2011 to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the attacks. To allow that to happen on time, Skanska built the Hub from the top down, rather than from the bottom up, a non-traditional construction approach that added and additional layer of complexity.

The newest and final section of the WTC Transportation Hub PATH tracks opened to the public days before September 11 and marked the substantial completion of the project.

The newest and final section of the WTC Transportation Hub PATH tracks opened to the public days before September 11, 2016 and marked the substantial completion of the project. Credit: Michael Benabib.

The No. 1 subway line bisects the Hub’s subterranean site, and it needed to stay operational during construction. So while the subway was suspended 70 feet in the air, Skanska crews built under, over and around it. They also safely built around the thousands of commuters, as they went to and from a temporary plywood-and-concrete train terminal.

Further complicating Skanska’s work was Hurricane Sandy, which in 2012 flooded the subterranean project with some 40 feet of floodwater, more than 200 million gallons.

“When Sandy hit, we had to take a big step back. We were able to quickly and safely switch gears, get new equipment in and rebuild,” said Project Superintendent Wayne Paliga. “A further adjustment was keeping the station active while building these final platforms, which was a constant and everyday challenge we were proud to overcome.”

The complex logistics of the World Trade Center site itself – with many structures being built simultaneously – further challenged our crews. At one point, 13 cranes and more than 4,000 workers were packed into the five city blocks of the site.

“I’m very proud of our teams that we finally got to the finish line,” Gary says. “It’s been a long time coming.”

One of the support beams of the original Twin Towers, destroyed on September 211, 2001, seen below the floor of the newest PATH platform inside the Transportation Hub.

One of the foundation beams of the original Twin Towers, destroyed on September 11, 2001, seen below the floor of the newest PATH platform inside the Transportation Hub. Credit: Michael Benabib.

Rising again

Visitors to the Transportation Hub are now greeted with expanses of smooth Italian marble and huge exposed steel beams that ripple overhead – all of it pure white. It’s a place teeming with life, but also a place to remember what happened 15 years ago. Reminders of that day are throughout the Hub, including visible sections of the original Twin Towers’ steel framework and concrete foundation (both built by Skanska in the 1970s).

It’s also a place to be proud of the tremendous efforts of those who labored to bring this hallowed ground back to life.

“We’ve come back from the ashes,” says Gary, who lost two close friends on 9/11. “It’s all back together now after so many years.”

Skanska USA

Skanska USA

Skanska USA is one of the largest, most financially sound construction and development companies in the U.S., serving a broad range of clients in the public and private sectors, including those in transportation, power, industrial, water/wastewater, healthcare, life science, education, sports & entertainment, data centers, government, aviation and commercial industries.

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Elizabeth River Tunnel Opens Early – Again!

For the second time this year, a critical stage of our Elizabeth River Tunnels (ERT) Project in Norfolk and Portsmouth, Virginia has hit a deadline early, this time opening the second lane of the newly-built Midtown Tunnel (MTT) to traffic on Friday, August 26, a full four months ahead of schedule. This follows the opening of the first lane to traffic back in June, six months early.

“It encourages the movement of goods and services and economic development. And let’s be clear, that’s why we build these transportation assets is for economic development,” said Virginia Secretary of Transportation Aubrey Lane.

The first vehicles drive through both lanes of the Midtown Tunnel for the first time on Friday, August 26, 2016.

The first vehicles drive through both lanes of the Midtown Tunnel for the first time on Friday, August 26, 2016.

It’s also another victory for the public private partnership (P3) model, in which private developers and operators invest their own equity – alongside government – to finance, design, construct, operate and maintain critical infrastructure projects for the public good.  The $2.1 billion ERT project is Skanska’s first major infrastructure P3 in the U.S., alongside the I4 Ultimate in Florida and New York’s LaGuardia Airport Central Terminal.

Project benefits at ERT are numerous: drivers will enjoy reduced emissions and congestion, as well as shave as much as 30 minutes a day off their average round trip commute. For more on the benefits of P3, check out our previous blog post here.

Improved safety features are also a key element in the MTT’s design. For example, the tunnel has a unique, pressurized emergency exit tunnel that allows people to escape the tunnel if needed.

“If an event happened in the tunnel – smoke, fire, if there was an accident – and you couldn’t get out of the tunnel in your vehicle, you could get out of your vehicle, and you can safely [leave] the tunnel,” said Wade Watson, project director for SKW Constructors, ERT’s design-build joint venture partnership of Skanska, Kiewit, and Weeks Marine.

The ERT project is divided into four sections:

• Rehabilitation, life-safety improvements, and maintenance of the existing westbound and eastbound Downtown Tunnels (completed in August 2016) and the existing (now eastbound) Midtown Tunnel (projected for completion May 2018);

• Construction of a new two-lane, unidirectional Midtown Tunnel adjacent to the existing Midtown Tunnel under the Elizabeth River (opened to one lane of westbound traffic in June 2016, and opened to both lanes of traffic in August 2016);

• Interchange modifications at Brambleton Avenue and Hampton Boulevard in Norfolk at the approach of the new Midtown Tunnel and the exit of the existing Midtown Tunnel (completed in August 2016);

• The extension of the Martin Luther King Expressway from London Boulevard to Interstate 264 in Portsmouth (projected for completion in December 2016).

Full completion on the project is expected in August 2018.

To celebrate the completion, runners participated in a 5k run/walk through the tunnel on Saturday, August 27.

To celebrate the completion, runners participated in a 5k run/walk through the tunnel on Saturday, August 27.

Click here for more on how this amazing tunnel was built.

Skanska USA

Skanska USA

Skanska USA is one of the largest, most financially sound construction and development companies in the U.S., serving a broad range of clients in the public and private sectors, including those in transportation, power, industrial, water/wastewater, healthcare, life science, education, sports & entertainment, data centers, government, aviation and commercial industries.

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Upgrading Our Hospitals Will Take a New Approach to Design

The last time you were in a hospital, did you take a good look around? What did you see?

Since the middle of the last century, hospitals have grown in size and complexity, but their physical layout has not kept pace with technological innovations and taken advantage of evidence-based design. Yes, they may look different, and feel modern and welcoming, but they have also grown, somewhat unchallenged, in square footage, materials and support systems.  One can look at a healthcare facility and come close to identifying the decade in which it was put into use.

Our Healthcare Center of Excellence (COE) helps hospitals push the boundaries of hospital design, and build for the health care delivery methods of today with an eye to the technologies of tomorrow. Andrew Quirk, head of our Healthcare COE, describes this approach in this piece on Building Design + Construction, here.

2016 IMAGE-KarolinskaHospitalSweden

Skanska recently handed over the first patient wing of the Karolinska Solna Hospital in Sweden, which designers say put the patient in the center of the planning. All patients receive a single room and a “thematic care” approach means doctors and specialists visit the patient rather than the other way around.

Skanska USA

Skanska USA

Skanska USA is one of the largest, most financially sound construction and development companies in the U.S., serving a broad range of clients in the public and private sectors, including those in transportation, power, industrial, water/wastewater, healthcare, life science, education, sports & entertainment, data centers, government, aviation and commercial industries.

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Not Your Grandpa’s Library

Asked to envision a library, one might conjure up images of stacks of musty books, dimly-lit wood-paneled rooms in hushed silence and cabinets of Dewey Decimal cards that lead to a prized tome.

Our Dayton Metro Main Library project in Ohio is anything but that: with design elements that include glass, steel and natural materials that bring in natural light, open space and encourage social interaction in a model that turns traditional library construction on its head.

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The Main Branch of the Dayton Library will incorporate future-proofing elements like raised floors for cable runs and back-of-house space for next-gen technologies that will make the structure more inviting and longer-lasting. Credit: Skanska USA.

“It’s more like a community center than a library – there’s an emphasis on programming and connection,” says Senior Project Manager Greg Lowery. He describes the all-glass building as maximizing exposure “in every nook and cranny” and incorporating movable glass partition walls to make the space as nimble as possible to accommodate groups both large and small.

The Main Library is one of five buildings Skanska is working on for Dayton’s expansive library system – and one of two projects with an expansion component we are constructing there. A third is a completely new building.

Lowery says his favorite elements in the renovated building include a grand staircase entrance and a planned fireplace with exposed brick that will provide a welcoming space to read and interact. A coffee shop will fill the space with inviting aromas.

Beyond the design elements, Lowery says Skanska’s expertise came through in making the building flexible for its future needs. He points out the building has raised floors rather than concrete slabs, allowing installation of new cable and utility runs simply by removing a panel. He says that will make future room re-configurations easier and save money for the library and the city.

“We helped look beyond the immediate plans for the library to leave room for technologies and expansions that will come 10 and 20 years from now,” he says. “We helped preserve options for future developments no one can even predict today.”

Skanska has particular expertise in this area, having provided preconstruction and construction management at risk services for the multi-award winning James B. Hunt Jr. Library on North Carolina State’s Centennial Campus.

Lowery credits the Skanska preconstruction teams with helping to cost-benefit the future-proofing concepts and convincing the client of its importance.

“And kids will love it,” he says. “With USB charging ports and tablets available to search for information, it’s a long way from when I sat in the basement of my library searching microfiche archives for a term paper.”

Skanska USA

Skanska USA

Skanska USA is one of the largest, most financially sound construction and development companies in the U.S., serving a broad range of clients in the public and private sectors, including those in transportation, power, industrial, water/wastewater, healthcare, life science, education, sports & entertainment, data centers, government, aviation and commercial industries.

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Preserving our nation’s heritage at the Menokin Glass House project

At the Menokin Glass House project, our team is taking a unique approach to preserving the ruins of the house of Francis Lightfoot Lee, one of the seven signers of the Declaration of Independence from Virginia.

As the owner’s project manager on the project, our team is overseeing the conservation and repair of the historic manor house in Warsaw, Virginia. Rather than a traditional rebuild, however, the project includes preserving and stabilizing the existing ruins, and building an enclosure of structural glass which will protect the remains and allow visitors to enter and explore the site.

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The Menokin Foundation is embarking on a revolutionary re-imagining of this historic structure. Led by the architecture firm of Machado Silvetti, the Menokin Foundation hopes to transform this house and 500-acre classroom into an educational and environmental experience like no other. Photo credit: Menokin Foundation.

“Through the project’s innovative glass enclosure, the Menokin manor house ruins will in effect be a full size artifact that invites everyone to inspect, touch and experience eighteenth century construction techniques and methods,” said Senior Project Manager James Ingle. “It will merge art and architecture.”

The house’s historical significance presents the project’s most difficult challenge, but also makes the project incredibly rewarding. The team is working closely alongside archaeologists, a structural engineering firm and architect Machado Silvetti to ensure that the delicate ruins are preserved. In order to work safely, they have installed mesh netting overhead to make sure any pieces that could potentially come lose are caught. They have also mocked up a corner of the house to test building stabilizing techniques prior to beginning work.

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Menokin was the home of Francis Lightfoot Lee, a Signer of the Declaration of Independence, and his wife, Rebecca Tayloe Lee of Mount Airy Plantation. Photo Credit: Historic American Buildings Survey

The Menokin house was built in 1769 and was designated as a historical landmark in 1971 for its significance as the home of a signer of the Declaration of Independence. It sits on a 500-acre property along the shoreline of the Chesapeake Gateway.

“This is one of the first times this method of preservation is being used, and I believe it will be replicated in the future because it is an incredibly sustainable solution,” James explained. Only 20 percent of the home remains standing, and this project will mimic the missing volume and manor house profile.

Discover more about the Menonkin Glass House Project here.

Skanska USA

Skanska USA

Skanska USA is one of the largest, most financially sound construction and development companies in the U.S., serving a broad range of clients in the public and private sectors, including those in transportation, power, industrial, water/wastewater, healthcare, life science, education, sports & entertainment, data centers, government, aviation and commercial industries.

More Posts - Website