Opening ahead of schedule and under budget, Wake Forest University recently completed a $90 million, two-year expansion project that adds four new buildings to the campus.
The project presented more than a few design challenges. The university had to determine where two residence halls and a dining facility on an already built-up campus would be located and what construction methods would be used.
Frank L. Blum Construction Company, headquartered in Winston-Salem, N.C. oversaw the project. To deal with the design issues, Blum’s Construction Management at Risk approach combined intensive preconstruction planning and Building Information Modeling 3-D technology. They used pre-fabricated mechanical rooms for the residence halls and dining hall, which saved weeks of time, as well as cost, over traditional installation.
The result was an overall savings of $9.5 million — more than 10 percent — in construction costs for the four buildings, with no reduction in their size, quality or the durability, according to Blum. The university was still able to meet its goal of achieving a minimum LEED Silver certification for each building.
In addition, parts of the project were completed in advance of the goal. For example, Farrell Hall, the home of the University’s newly co-located undergraduate and graduate business programs, was completed and opened to students several months in advance of the target completion date. The university has received national recognition for the building’s design, innovative architecture and high-quality material, despite their ability to decrease construction cost of Farrell Hall by $3.8 without sacrificing square footage, quality of materials, or any desired features.
The North Campus Dining Hall also underwent changes from its original design. During the preconstruction phase, the size of the dining hall was increased from 15,000 square feet to 21,000 square feet without a significant increase in budget. The dining hall includes an a la carte serving area, a sit-down restaurant, a Starbuck’s coffee shop, a lounge area, and a convenience store. It is designed to seat up to 300 people at peak hours, plus an additional 80 seats outdoors on balconies and terraces.