Lawrence, KS – As students at the University of Kansas (KU) prepare for the home stretch of the school year, the school’s first public-private partnership (P3) is crossing the finish line in record time. The Central District Development project is a momentous addition to the KU campus—a 55-acre, design-build project which will enable the university to serve their students’ future education needs. For the Clark Construction Group and Kansas-based McCownGordon Construction, it’s also a testament to teamwork in quality and scheduling. With four facilities and three site improvement projects, Clark/McCownGordon delivered every single component of the project ahead of schedule.
Clark/McCownGordon partnered with architect Perkins + Will on the Central District project, which is led by developer Edgemoor Infrastructure & Real Estate. Clark/McCownGordon’s scope of work included the Integrated Sciences Building (ISB), the Burge Student Union, the central utility plant, a parking garage, recreation and athletic fields, and site improvements.
The Central District’s focal point is the new state-of-the-art ISB which creates space for teaching, learning, and interdisciplinary research, including a clean room and microscopy suite. By using a steel super structure, the project saved time on schedule and accommodated early turnover of portions of the project to various stakeholders. The ISB hit substantial completion on May 1 this year—a full two months ahead of schedule.
The new Burge Student Union and new Central Utility Plant were both delivered four months ahead of schedule, the recreation fields completed five months ahead of schedule, and the parking garage was turned over to the University six weeks early.
Clark Project Manager Kunal Sakhuja credits the team’s success to collaborative communication among trade partners and project stakeholders. “We set expectations early and utilized visual production tracking schedules with our trade partners to create a collaborative environment with project stakeholders and identify opportunities to expedite processes,” states Sakhuja. “KU’s representatives were also instrumental in our success. The KU team understood how their decision-making process could impact the construction schedule. KU, in working with our project management team, made timely decisions and minimized changes in order to maintain schedule.”
“[Clark’s] quality of work is unequalled. Their experience, dedication, and attention to detail throughout all stages of the project were significant to our project’s success” – Brad Nachtigal, Associate Athletic Director, University of Kansas
Throughout the project, Clark/McCownGordon did their homework to ensure that the project was successful for the local community. In addition to hosting tours for KU professors and students, the team partnered with the adjacent Hilltop Child Development Center to take show-and-tell to a whole new level—the team spent the day explaining the project to the children at the day care and held multiple follow-up events. In 2018, the project team earned Clark Construction’s 2018 Client Service Award.
Clark and McCownGordon also leveraged local expertise to on the project. With 300-400 people onsite daily, 95% of the labor force were local Kansas City area residents. The project team built strong ties with partners onsite, and in 2017 Clark Superintendent Chris Smith was named Superintendent of the Year by the American Subcontractors Association - Kansas City chapter.