United Construction Co. starts hometown contract

The importance of building the new $14.6 million William N. Pennington Facility for the Boys & Girls Club of Truckee Meadows isn’t lost on Craig Willcut, president and chief operating officer of Reno general contractor United Construction Co.

United was awarded the contract to build the new facility on Foster Drive through a competitive bid process on May 31 and began excavation and dirt work June 3.

“We realize the significance to the community on this project,” Willcut says. “That is one of the reasons we really focused during the bid process to make sure we were successful and awarded this project. Obviously any project is important, but this one more so because of the significance to the community.

“United Construction has been involved in community projects since it was founded in 1978,” Willcut adds. “We have a long track record of working on projects like this and with non-profit organizations to make sure they get the product they need. We are very proud to work as a partner with the Boys & Girls Club on this project.”

The Boys & Girls Club of Truckee Meadows tried to lease the former YMCA building at the site from the City of Reno in 2007-2008, but since the facility was in such a state of disrepair the city eventually donated the site to the Boys & Girls Club of Truckee Meadows to make room for a new facility.

“Sadly, the closing of the YMCA left a significant gap in services for our local kids,” says Mike Wurm, chief professional officer for the Boys & Girls Club of Truckee Meadows. “The Boys & Girls Club has strived to fill that gap by running quality sports leagues, opening club sites in schools and widening our service area. Now, the club has an opportunity to construct a new 55,000-square-foot facility to serve the needs of the immediate neighborhood and the many nearby schools. We expect to serve more than 3,000 additional youth annually, an increase of more than 27 percent over our current membership of 11,000 youth.”

United’s Willcut says winning the bid required a great deal of internal strategizing to provide value-engineering items — ways to maintain the intent and scope of the work but providing different materials or construction methods to build the project more cost-efficiently.

Another component that helped lower costs was working with subcontractors through the bid process to make sure each subs’ scope of work was clearly identified without duplication. Subcontractors also helped the Boys & Girls Club of Truckee Meadows control costs by giving in-kind donations that helped bring costs down, Willcut says.

“The Boys & Girls Club raised money for this mainly through the Pennington Foundation and other foundations as well, but there was lot of generosity from the subcontractor community in the bid,” he says.

Subcontractors include: Jensen Electric; Fleet Heating and Air for the mechanical work, Tedesco Pacific for the concrete flatwork and tilt-up walls; Johnson Plumbing; Silver State Masonry for the structural block walls and brick pavers; Reno Iron Works for the structural steel; and Peavine Construction for the earthwork.

Basalite Concrete Products will supply all the pavers and structural concrete block from its manufacturing plant in Carson City. The facility was designed by Sam Updike and Robert Fabri of Architectural Design Group of Sparks.

Wurm says that although the entire Reno-Sparks community supports the Boys & Girls Club of Truckee Meadows, much of that support historically has come from the construction industry.

“In our 37-year history, it has been members of the construction industry that have repeatedly come to our rescue and support fundraising efforts as well as building projects,” he says. “There is not another industry that has been more supportive during that time. That being said, this is a very important project to the Boys & Girls Club of Truckee Meadows and the community. It’s a very good sign for our local economy that local foundations and businesses are able to step up after a long recession and support a project and a new facility that will help kids. It will also put people to work in a recovering construction market.”

Willcut says the project is complex in that three different construction materials will be used for the exterior of the building: tilt-up concrete walls for the gymnasium; block for other areas; and structural framing and stucco in some parts. The job should be completed in about 10 months, and the Boys & Girls Club of Truckee Meadows expects to open the facility in May of 2014.


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