Construction is substantially complete while final testing and commissioning of all systems are still ongoing. Final corrections/touchups and final cleaning are occurring as well. Departmental moves have begun and faculty and staff are starting to set up their spaces prior to the start of the spring semester beginning in January 2021. The building remains closed to the general public as there is still a lot of activity inside getting things finished and set up.
Over the last month, we’ve made a good bit of progress toward completing this project. We are only two months from substantial completion! Inside the building, on Levels 0 and 1, most of the floor finishes have been installed. All doors, door hardware, final wall paint, baseboards, and other cosmetic finishes are fully installed. We have passed the city’s above ceiling inspections on both floors and have also performed internal above ceiling inspections with our Buildings and Maintenance shops. The installation of interior wall panel systems and decorative glass curtainwall systems is ongoing on Levels 1 and 2. Rough-in of all A/V systems is complete and installation of A/V equipment is about to get underway on Levels 0 and 1.
On the upper levels, 2 and 3, floor finishes are 75 percent installed and other cosmetic finishes are going in over the next couple of weeks. Glass marker boards and tack boards are going in at all the classrooms and labs. Above ceiling inspections were performed by the city and our Buildings and Maintenance shops before Thanksgiving. In addition, terrazzo stair treads and risers are being installed over the original concrete stairs on all levels. Most of the lighting fixtures are also installed including the custom LED lighting strips on the wall panel systems. Display cases have also been installed on Levels 1, 2, and 3 in common hallways and at public entrances. 80 percent of all communications cabling is installed throughout the building and the subcontractor is working to prepare the IDF closets for receipt of switching equipment from ACC by the first of December.
Outside the building, the landscaping work continues. New pedestrian sidewalks and stairs have been poured. Decorative limestone retaining walls have been installed, most of the larger trees have been planted, and all rough grading has been completed. New wall decking is being installed in the north courtyard. In the north parking lot, the fabric shade structures over the handicap spaces are fully installed. The final asphaltic resurfacing of the parking lot is complete. All trees have been planted, The light poles have been set and irrigation systems are being installed.
The project is entering the home stretch! We are about three months out from substantial completion. The interiors are really starting to come together.
Final finishes are being installed on Level 0, including carpet tile, storefront glazing panels, final coats of wall paint, ceiling trim, and tile and light fixtures. Level 0 is the closest to being complete. Following closely behind is Level 1, where final finishes are going in on that level, too. Progress is less far along on Levels 2 and 3, but they will catch up there in the next month. Glass marker boards are being installed in classrooms and labs on Levels 1 and 2. Doors and door hardware are going in on Levels 2 and 3. Curtainwall glazing systems are also being installed on Level 2 and 3 in the core of the building in spaces that will be occupied by the Army Futures Command.
In restrooms on all levels, all ceramic floor and wall tiling is set and grouted and all toilet partitions have been installed. All plumbing and light fixtures are also installed. The restrooms are nearly complete.
All terrazzo flooring in common areas and corridors is complete on all four floors and floor protection is installed on top to keep the floors pristine while work continues on in the building.
On the exterior of the building, all the storefront door and glazing systems are installed at Levels 0 and 1. The historical replica painted wall doors are also installed. Temporary protection is wrapped on those doors to keep them clean.
At the north parking lot, irrigation systems are being installed. All light poles are installed. The parking lot asphaltic surface topcoat will be milled in the next week or so and then paint restriping of parking lot spaces will be done near the end of the project in December.
At the south courtyard, the stepped limestone Tillman walls are about 80 percent complete. The overall impression of the courtyard is really taking shape. At the north courtyard, rough grading is completed. Limestone retaining walls are going in and footings for the wood deck structure are being poured. Electrical rough-in of our outdoor light fixtures and power receptacles is also ongoing.
The main fiber connection for IT connectivity is being pulled from RGC 3000 to RGC 1000 this week. The network should be up and running by mid-November or so.
Construction is nearly substantially complete. Final testing and commissioning of all systems are still ongoing. Final corrections/touchups and final cleaning are occurring as well. The telescopic seating for the Dance Studio will be installed soon. Equipment is still being installed throughout the building and furniture is being placed in its correct location throughout also. Computer installation will be forthcoming. Departmental moves will begin soon so that faculty and staff may set up their spaces prior to the start of the spring semester beginning in January 2021.
Rio Grande Campus will be home to the new first-of-its-kind Army Futures Command Software Factory. The factory will take up a portion of two floors of the building and is expected to open in mid- to late-January 2021. The factory will not impact the renovation project timeline. Construction remains on track to be completed in spring 2021, and move-in will begin at the end of spring and continue through summer. Classes are expected to resume in fall 2021. Learn more here.
The Black Box Theatre wood floor is being installed. The wood stage flooring in the Music Performance Hall will be installed soon. The fixed seating in the performance spaces is being installed. Final touches and last-minute finishes are being completed. The mechanical and electrical systems have had a final inspection. The plumbing and fire alarm systems are being tested and will be inspected soon. The majority of the furniture has been installed and equipment installation is well underway. The exterior furniture has been installed as well.
Construction is nearing completion with a substantial completion milestone expected at the end of September. Final touches are being completed throughout the building with several large performance spaces still undergoing substantial construction activities. Curtain tracks are being hung. The wood sprung dance floor will be installed soon. Fixed seating is starting to be installed in some locations. The pipe grid is nearly complete in all areas.
The connections to adjacent buildings 1000 and 4000 have been completed. Landscaping and site paving is mostly complete. Exterior furniture has been installed. The majority of the furniture has been delivered and installed. Equipment installation has begun in some areas.
Tremendous progress has been made over the past month. The two elevators are being installed. Decorative hand railing systems are being installed in the interior stairwells. The terrazzo floors in all common areas on Levels 0 to 2 are being completed and final finishing to polish the surfaces is underway. All restroom plumbing fixtures have been installed. Hollow metal door frames have been installed on all floors. Door panels are going in as well. The exterior concrete base is being painted with the approved multilayer protective coating system.
The construction of the south courtyard stepped amphitheater is ongoing with the placement of Tillman walls (large stone blocks carefully arranged in a stair-stepped pattern to create a tiered rectilinear bowl shape in the earth). The north courtyard is currently being prepped for Tillman walls to start going in as well.
Permanent power has been established and all the electrical systems are running to provide power throughout the building. The final painting of all interior original steel windows in the atriums is almost complete. A coat of final paint on interior walls will commence as soon as we have air conditioning in the building.
Rough-in of electrical conduit to serve the light poles and canopy mounted lights in the north parking lot is underway. The electric vehicle (EV) charging stations have been set and are almost ready to go live. The pulling of data cabling is ongoing on Levels 2 and 3 and is nearly complete on Levels 0 and 1. The historical replica exterior entrance doors on the West and East elevations have gone in and are currently being prepped to be primed and painted. All specialty shaped exterior windows have been installed with the exception of just a couple so that building materials can be moved into the building. The mechanical chiller will be started up before the end of August to begin providing chilled water to air handling units, which will provide air conditioning to the entire building.
Overall, construction is about 85 percent complete.
Laboratory casework installation is nearly complete in the science labs on Levels 1-3. All interior walls on Levels 0 and 1 have been constructed, which includes being taped, floated, textured, and primed. A finish coat of paint has been applied in most locations. On Levels 2 and 3, the walls are all taped and floated and ready for paint. Interior door frames are mostly installed on all levels. Ceiling grid installation is nearly complete on Levels 0 to 2 and partially complete on Level 3. All audiovisual cabling is being roughed-in in classrooms and labs. Rough-in of electrical and data cabling in the walls is complete on Levels 0 and 1 and nearly complete on Levels 2 and 3. Most light fixtures have been set into the ceiling grids on Levels 0 and 1.
We expect Austin Energy to power up the new transformers in the nearby vault, thereby establishing permanent power by the end of July. Next week, all major HVAC equipment will be started up and the main electrical panels will be hot. The commissioning of all mechanical and electrical systems will be the focus of efforts from August through November.
The exterior walkways, seating walls, and landscaping are complete on the west and are underway on the east side. The exterior building finishes are being completed and exterior furnishings are forthcoming.
The majority of the interior spaces are complete or nearly complete with the exception being the larger performance and production spaces that have a multitude of infrastructure and acoustic components and specialty finishes. Touch-ups and final cleaning efforts are on-going. Furniture installation is nearing completion throughout the building. Equipment installation has begun in the health sciences simulation area. Commissioning and systems testing is on-going.
Highland Phase 2 will open for Spring Semester 2021.