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Two Projects in Texas Receive Build America Awards from AGC and Construction Risk Partners

by: Jessica Hoover
The Covenant School Rhetoric Building
The Covenant School Rhetoric Building
US-54/IH-10 Connect Project
US-54/IH-10 Connect Project
The Association of General Contractors (AGC) and Construction Risk Partners recently honored this year’s best new and renovation construction projects with Build America Awards at the AGC Annual Convention in Las Vegas, Nevada. Build America Merit Awards were also presented to construction companies at the convention.

“These awards are designed to set a new minimum standard of excellence for the construction industry,” said Tom Brown, AGC’s Vice President and President of Sierra Pacific West, Inc. in San Diego. “Considering what went into building these projects, that minimum standard is extremely high.”

For 41 years, the Build America Awards have recognized excellence in projects ranging across the building, highway and transportation, utility infrastructure, and federal and heavy industries. The projects are selected by a panel of judges comprised of contractors that look for projects excelling in: state-of-the-art advancement, project management, innovation in construction or use of materials, contribution to the community, client service, overcoming jobsite challenges, environmental sensitivity, and partnering excellence.

In the Texas Contractor area, the following projects were awarded with 2023 Build America Awards.

The Covenant School Rhetoric Building
Skiles Group was presented with an award in the Building New (Under $20 Million) category for The Covenant School Rhetoric Building in Dallas, Texas. To create more space for the students at The Covenant School of Dallas, Skiles Group built a 34,000-square-foot, three-story expansion for the high school campus.

The $7.2 million project included 11 new classrooms; three science labs; two art rooms; two locker rooms; three collaborative learning spaces; 30 offices, faculty workspaces, and athletic facilities; and a large tornado shelter. The tornado shelter required Skiles Group to install nearly 10-inch-thick concrete, which had to be precisely stacked.

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“Our approach to building is very team centric,” said Michael Knapp, CHC, Client Executive at Skiles Group. “A successful project requires collaboration between the owner, design team, general contractor, and the trade partners. We were fortunate on this project to have great participants from all those groups, which led to an outstanding project. One that we at Skiles Group are very proud of and honored to have recognized for an AGC Build America Award.”

Skiles Group took on multiple challenges for this project, such as constructing the building next to a major highway with no parking and limited lay down space, dealing with flooding in a nearby field that was used for the main staging and parking area, installing custom-matched metals from three different suppliers, and engineering the grass fire lane to meet weight requirements while still appearing like a green field in the center of campus.

“Skiles Group never let project obstacles and procurement challenges become excuses,” Knapp said. “We worked collaboratively with the design team and owner to devise and implement creative solutions that allowed the project to maintain its schedule.”

US-54/IH-10 Connect Project
Sundt Construction was presented with an award in the Highway & Transportation Renovation ($20 Million or More) category for the US-54/IH-10 Connect project in El Paso, Texas. Prior to the completion of this project, the approaches to the Bridge of the Americas Port of Entry experienced frequent traffic backups in nearby residential areas. The $96 million large-scale reconstruction effort resulted in reduced congestion and a smoother traffic flow for the El Paso community.

“We are excited to receive a Build America Award from AGC for our I-10 Connect project,” said Jeff Williamson, Transportation Group President at Sundt Construction. “The project team worked alongside the Texas Department of Transportation to solve this area’s traffic challenge while also preserving culturally and historically significant landmarks for the city of El Paso.”

The US-54/IH-10 Connect project includes construction of 16 new directional ramp and traffic interchange bridges, earthwork, continuously reinforced concrete paving, removal of 12 existing bridges, new retaining walls, a storm drain system, an intelligent transportation system, and other site improvements. The project also eliminated a significant traffic weave by separating US-54 and US-110.

During construction, the Sundt team found unmarked old concrete piles and existing utilities as well as asbestos in the paint of all the bridges due for demolition, which could have delayed the project by up to 10 months. To keep the project on schedule, Sundt worked with local transportation officials and an environmental subcontractor to get the materials removed.

The team was also successful in overcoming the challenges of working within a constrained area surrounded by businesses, schools, a zoo, and a national park and was able to preserve several murals by local artists representing the area’s Chicano heritage.

2023 Build America Merit Award Winners
The Merit Award winners in the Texas Contractor area were: Linbeck Group, LLC in the Building New ($76 Million to $125 Million) category for the Cook Children’s Medical Center Prosper Hospital in Prosper, Texas; Guido Construction in the Construction Management New (Under $99 Million) category for the Alamo Colleges St. Philip’s Welding & Autobody Collision Center in San Antonio, Texas; and JE Dunn Construction in the Construction Management Renovation (Under $99 Million) category for the Collin College Information Technology Center in Frisco, Texas.
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