Austin Community College District’s (ACC) Rio Grande Campus received a temporary certificate of occupancy for the building on February 11. We moved furniture and equipment into Army Future Command’s (AFC) Phase I space over the last couple of weeks. On March 8, AFC started their occupancy of the Phase I space. There are still minor architectural punch items that need to be addressed within their space. Our contractor’s team is coordinating schedules for access with AFC leadership to complete the work.
The rest of the building remains unoccupied. Bartlett Cocke General Contractors continues to address architectural punch items. The testing and balancing of mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems continues for the next two to three months. The ACC network is up and running in the building. ACC Security is starting the programming and deployment of new Genetec control systems for surveillance cameras, door access control, intrusion detection, and emergency police dispatch call stations. This effort is expected to take five to six weeks.
All the exterior landscaping was severely damaged by the winter storm. Many of the plantings will have to be replaced. We are looking to schedule inspections for the exterior façade, roof, and landscape to generate new punch lists for those areas in the back half of March.
There will be a lull in construction once the punch list work is completed. The month of April will be quieter. We are currently trying to get three interior renovation plan sets to the city for permit review.
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.
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.
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 COVID-19-related shutdowns have really created a challenge for our team to keep construction progress moving forward, but we’ve been fortunate that no major issues have arisen thus far, except for feeling the impacts of some delays with construction materials arriving on-site, specifically light fixtures, handrail systems, HVAC equipment and some other finishes. The delay of these items could potentially impact the progress down the road, but we will have to monitor the situation week to week.
As for the construction itself, we reached a significant milestone at the end of March. The building is officially dried in, meaning the roofing is fully installed so that we aren’t getting any water into the building. This has allowed us to make steady progress in April and complete interior drywall installation, including taping, floating, texturing, and painting walls on Level 1. We are now working on Levels 2 and 3 and should have all three levels 90 percent complete by the middle of May. We have also completed the sub-base installation for all terrazzo flooring that will be poured on Levels 1 through 3. We have started installing mechanical, electrical, and plumbing work in the main Library space, which is the last area of the building, other than the penthouse, where overhead work hadn’t yet started. On Level 0, network cabling is being pulled in overhead trays to all data outlets in the rooms. All the Level 0 steel windows have been installed and are being sealed and caulked in by next week.
The vault, located northwest of the Annex in the north parking lot is substantially complete. We received our approval for the building final inspection and expect to turn over the building to Austin Energy to install two transformers within the next couple of weeks. We are still tracking for permanent power to be tied into RGC 1000 within the next month or so, which is another major milestone.
In the chiller house and basement of RGC 3000, mechanical system control panels are being set and programmed to all air handling units.
In the north parking lot, new concrete curbs around islands have been cut in, formed, and poured. Two new electric vehicle charging stations will be installed around the end of April.
Construction teams commemorated the topping-out of Rio Grande Campus on Wednesday, January 22. The event marked an important milestone for the project.
On Level 2, exterior wall spray foam was placed on all facades. Welding of steel roof supports was performed at both atriums and a crane erected the remaining roof-level penthouse steel framing. The science lab air handling units also were placed on the penthouse floor. On the south elevation, exterior metal clad wood windows were installed. Exterior window installation is nearly complete, with the exception of some special arched-shaped windows, which are special orders.The transformer vault foundation was poured and concrete back-up walls have been put up. The exterior brick veneer work has commenced.
Inside Rio Grande Campus, Building 1000, crews continue to pull electrical cables and pipelines for plumbing fixtures in restrooms across all floors. At the south atrium, cloud ceiling steel supports have been hung from the steel roof structure. Fireproofing has been sprayed on the steel structure of the penthouse at roof level. Science lab exhaust steel supports are being welded at the roof. Lastly, metal decking has been applied to the penthouse roof, marking the highest point of new structure on the building.
Across the street, next to Rio Grande Building 3000, the emergency generator equipment was placed over the holidays. The concrete back-up walls have been put up on the generator enclosure. The exterior brick veneer work has also commenced.
All the major flat slab reinforced concrete floors have been poured up to Level 3 in the core of the building. The shoring and formwork was removed last week. The concrete shaft walls for the two elevators have been erected to the roof and topped out. Brick repair and cleaning of the ornamental cast stone continues in both atriums. On the east side, all the window openings have been roughed in with wood blocking and are prepared to receive new windows, which are currently in production and arriving on-site in about a month.
Three construction-manager firm finalists — Flintco, Bartlett-Cocke, and SpawGlass — presented proposals to ACC’s Board of Trustees. Selection is expected by February.