When trying to accommodate 18 different tenants on a fast-track schedule, even contractors with vast experience in military construction might find the task daunting. However, since Hoffman Construction, BBL Architects and the Oregon National Guard used a design/build delivery method for the construction of a new facility at Camp Withycombe, it made planning this massive structure that much easier.

“One of the key elements we discussed with the owner was our approach to the project and the way we demonstrated intent to manage the project and organize each of the 18 tenants,” says Greg Garske, superintendent for Hoffman Construction. “We structured getting critical information incorporated into the project, and one of the things we identified was how to minimize the risk.”

The 41st Infantry Division Armed Forces Reserve Center will occupy more than 250,000 square feet at Camp Withycombe in Clackamas, Ore., making it the largest facility built by the Oregon National Guard. The $72 million project broke ground in September 2009 and is set for a grand opening in September 2011.

The Oregon National Guard hired Hoffman Construction and BBL Architects as the design/build team for this project. The scope calls for a steel-framed structure with masonry veneer and a metal roof supported by metal wall panels. There was also extensive site work involved across 17 acres of land to make way for the two-story structure.

When completed, the facility will provide space for 18 military tenants and more than 1,300 members of the Oregon Army National Guard and the U.S. Army Reserve.

Getting the Job

The owner called for a two-step procurement process that started with a qualification process, followed by a review of design proposals from qualified parties. The guaranteed-maximum-price contract was awarded based on best value, not on price, according to Architect Mark Danielson of BBL Architects. 

Danielson says design/build was the way to go for a facility that required different build-outs for so many tenants. This gave the Oregon National Guard one point of contact throughout the course of the schedule, and it gave the construction team milestones to stay on pace with the work.

“It was an absolute pleasure working on design/build vs. hard bid,” he says. “I fought [hard-bid] battles for years and years, and design/build has turned that side of the coin.”

Accommodating the Tenants

Building out for 18 different tenants requires a great deal of preplanning and meticulous scheduling. Danielson says this portion of the job required procuring a range of military finishes, including storage shelving, lockers and weapons vaults. It also included traditional office accoutrements like work stations and furniture.

The center also will serve as the home for the U.S. Army band, so acoustic and theater elements were designed into the project, as well. The band’s 6,400 square feet includes three large rehearsal areas, individual rehearsal rooms, a quintet and quartet room, equipment repair room and storage. There is also a sound control booth situated between two of the large rehearsal rooms.

Sustainably Designed

The construction team is aiming for LEED Gold certification for the center. Sustainable features include daylighting that can power the equivalent of 26 three-bedroom homes. The center also will be built with low–VOC materials and fixtures to decrease water consumption, and crews will recycle all construction trash. Overall, the center is aiming to exceed the code for decreased energy use by 30 percent.

Hoffman and BBL also added a bioswale and a bioretention system that can store 2.7 million gallons of water annually. This system will hold enough water to accommodate the entire base once it is scrubbed through a series of planting systems, and it will prevent flooding in a sensitive area. 

Another aspect of the center’s LEED credentials is an education component. The facility will feature a kiosk where visitors can access information about the center’s LEED construction, and the owner will offer tours showing the LEED amenities to civilians.

For Those Who Serve

Danielson says the most rewarding aspect of this project for him is building a structure for those who serve in the U.S. National Guard. The state of Oregon has had a large number of National Guard troops deployed overseas in the last 10 to 12 years, and many of those troops have died in that span. “They are absolutely inherent when you think about the National Guard in general as ‘citizen soldiers,’” Danielson says.

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