Palmer Drive Development is a one-of-a-kind enterprise, focusing on the life sciences through coursework, basic research and cross-disciplinary studies. This “crown jewel” project consists of the Life Sciences Institute with research laboratories, including wet labs, dry labs, and vivariums housing an animal community up to 64,000, offices and support space, a 1048-car parking garage, The Undergraduate Science Building, and the Commons Building, which has dining, lecture hall, classroom, auditorium, and public gathering areas and houses the chilling capacity for the entire expansion and a walkway linking the central campus with the medical campus. All the project components were phased with completion and occupancy occurring over a three year period.

The development of the documents, the bidding and award, and packaging of the work was phased over a five year period. All the project components had very specific completion dates tied to various Owner operational needs and requirements. The master construction schedule, used to set the completion dates, was finalized in early 2002. All completion dates for each building component were achieved on or before the date indicated on the master construction schedule.

Barton Malow’s Preconstruction Group was responsible for developing the unique logistics and schedules that allowed the phased completion to progress on time and with minimal disruption to other campus activities. This site is the physical link between the central academic campus and the University’s medical center. The work took place amid busy streets and close-in campus buildings, with literally thousands of passersby every day; safety was an enormous consideration in the intricate phasing plan. Also, to help keep the University fully operational, we phased the demolition of an existing building that preserved a world-class collection of plants until a new herbarium could be designed and built. This allowed the construction to proceed. Additionally, the construction operations were sequenced so that seven loading docks - located adjacent to the site - remained open without interruption. In addition, vibration was a particular issue with the dental school, which performs patient procedures. In that case we had to use pre-drilled “H” piles with wood lagging in lieu of the faster sheet piles to minimize vibration.

A utility tunnel running from the existing powerhouse, serving the entire central campus, criss-crossed the proposed construction site. The original strategy was to support the existing primary service tunnels. During our constructability review and after conducting several studies, our Preconstruction Group recommended a temporary utility bypass - an approach that saved two full months and several hundred thousand dollars.