CORE Construction – Pennington Student Achievement Center

Institutions of higher learning such as the University of Nevada, Reno, (UNR) provide students with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in life, but when it comes to building successful construction projects on campus there’s no room for learning on the job. That’s why CORE Construction was tapped to build the latest addition to the UNR campus, the William N. Pennington Student Achievement Center. 

For many years, CORE Construction has been recognized as a leader in the construction of education projects, including multiple successful projects on college and university campuses across the country. Nevada Vice President Jim Miller says the company’s experience and expertise in the higher education sector have been contributing factors to the success of the Pennington project from the very beginning, and they continue to play a crucial role as the company prepares to finish the project by early 2016. 

Founded by Otto Baum in 1937 with an original concentration on masonry, CORE Construction has evolved into one of the nation’s most trusted contractors and now employs more than 1,500 people across the United States. The company’s portfolio contains numerous projects ranging from solar farms to hospitals to condominiums to a Major League Baseball stadium – Chase Field in Phoenix. Concentrating on the Midwest, Southeast and Southwest regions, CORE Construction says its unwavering adherence to its core values and principles has been the hallmark of its success for nearly 80 years. “Our mission is to earn the trust of our employees, building partners and clients,” the company says. “Achieving this mission begins by building teams who have unwavering, comprehensive trust in one another.”

Miller says CORE Construction has served as construction manager at risk for the Pennington project, which is the first job CORE Construction has been awarded on the campus of UNR. Although the project has been technically challenging because of its proximity to numerous other important campus buildings, Miller says the team within CORE Construction and its key partnerships with its subcontractors have been key to ensuring the project’s success so far. 

The Main Hub

The William N. Pennington Student Achievement Center will be an important addition to the UNR campus when it opens in early 2016. The building will consolidate several student services including the university’s writing center, counseling services, math center, career services center and faith-based groups. According to Miller, the opportunity to build such an important central gathering point for so many students really appealed to CORE Construction.

“The unique thing about this project – and what’s rewarding for us – is that currently there are a lot of student service departments that are scattered across the campus,” Miller says. “This project is going to take all of those student services and put them under one roof. It’s going to be a main hub of the university.” 

The 78,000-square-foot facility also will feature collaborative workspaces as well as computer workstations for individual work and foodservice. CORE Construction’s work on the project included the demolition of the Getchell Building, which originally occupied the site. Miller says that in addition to being a central gathering place for students and faculty, the Pennington project will serve to tie together all of the various architectural styles found on the university’s campus. 

“I think the building is a standout because it’s taking a lot of the elements throughout the campus and combining them into one design,” Miller says. 

Working on Campus

The most challenging aspect of the Pennington project up to this point has been working on a functioning college campus, Miller says. Although the building is a relatively complex multilevel structure, the sequencing and scheduling of work in proximity to the existing campus buildings have created the most difficulty for CORE Construction and its trade partners. 

However, this is where CORE Construction’s expertise in higher education projects has been most beneficial. By working closely with the university and utilizing the experience the company has from working on previous college and university projects, CORE Construction has been able to schedule the work on the Pennington project in a way that kept the project on schedule without disrupting normal campus activities. 

The Pennington project was in the finishing stages as of early December, and Miller says everything was on track for the site work to be wrapped up by the end of the year. Once the Pennington project work is completed, CORE Construction will have another successful higher education project to add to its portfolio. 

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