News

Karmyn Babcock Named to 2015 Women in Construction list

The Weitz Company announces Vice President of Operational Excellence Karmyn Babcock has been named one of Constructech magazine’s 2015 Women in Construction.

Constructech selected the 2015 Women in Construction based on:

  • Involvement with technology within the construction industry

    Karmyn Babcock Image

    Karmyn Babcock

  • Contribution to helping their company grow and progress via the use of cutting-edge solutions
  • Influence in the growth of technology within the overall construction industry
  • Inspiring other women in industry, technology or her local community

“The Women in Construction demonstrate exemplary leadership and have accelerated the growth of technology, while inspiring others within construction,” said Peggy Smedley, editorial director, Constructech magazine. “Each woman embodies passion, tenacity and grace even under the toughest of circumstances, which ultimately has empowered them to take risks and challenge the status quo.”

The 2015 Women in Construction were announced at the dinner following the 2015 Technology Day on August 27 in Schaumburg, Ill. Winners will also be featured in the Sept./Oct. issue of Constructech magazine.


Weitz Blog Post: Taking Campus Construction Back to School

KU Rendering

The construction and design of buildings on college campuses has changed significantly over the years; colleges want to provide students with a quality education, but also a well-rounded experience. With a focus on attracting prospective students by showing off amenities and services that enhance the student’s lifestyle, a university’s appeal is focused on these top four areas:

  • Residence halls
  • Libraries
  • Student unions
  • Recreation centers

Residence halls

Considering how students live, learn and socially interact is a must when building residence halls. Builders have taken into consideration the student’s expectations for the latest features. Some of these upgrades include: lounge areas, recreation rooms, quiet study rooms, computer and printing stations, conference rooms and sometimes even pools and outdoor lounge areas.

Dorm rooms are also getting a facelift through different layouts, giving the students the ability to choose the style that best suits them, including options of single rooms, double rooms, community bathrooms, suites with private bathrooms, four-bed suites, etc. Recently, The Weitz Company completed two new dorms for the University of Kansas, which incorporated three different room options and extensive community spaces, both indoors and outdoors.

Libraries

In today’s world of advancing technology, the standard use of libraries as places to store and checkout books in not enough. College libraries are adding specialty services that create a reason for students to spend more time in the space. These services include tutoring centers, writing assistance, group study rooms, presentation rooms, classrooms, art galleries, cafés and convenience stores. The challenging task when renovating existing libraries to include these upgrades is finding the space and the logistics of including while taking into consideration the space needed for bookshelves, computer and printing stations, etc.

Student unions

In recent years, Weitz has seen a substantial shift in higher educations’ approach to student unions. Often the center of campus, the meeting spaces serve a variety of purposes to the school. Often these buildings are a potential student’s first impression on their initial visit so the visual appeal is a high priority. Universities are looking to add unique features to create an experience, including retail shops, game rooms, post offices, banks, theatres, lounge areas, fast food restaurants…the possibilities are endless. The abundance of windows and skylights has been a trend for providing natural light and adding value to sustainable design, decreasing the university’s energy costs. Weitz recently incorporated this features into the construction of University of Missouri-Kansas City’s Student Success Center. Studies show natural light increases performance from students and overall contributes to happier moods.

Recreation centers

Health and wellness is a priority for many people around the country, especially in young adults. One way universities are accommodating this trend is by creating state-of-the-art recreation centers. These buildings are becoming a major selling point to prospective students. With an emphasis on healthy lifestyle choices rather than just exercise, universities are now including counseling centers, health clinics, spas, healthy snack and smoothie bars, cooking classes, and fitness tracking technologies.

As the evolution of college campuses continues, it is now more important than ever for universities to keep up with the latest trends in student living in order to draw the greatest number of student prospects. While some of these new features seem much different than what the “dorm experience” was 15 years ago, the competitive landscape has also changed, meaning universities need to take a fresh look at what the driving factors are for the future of their institutions. Overall, these elements add to the benefits of a student’s experience and are a great selling point for many high school students when making the important decision of where their education will take them next.


The Weitz Company Releases Mid-Year Senior Living Construction Cost Data

Cost Trends Image

The American Senior Housing Association (ASHA) and leading national construction firm The Weitz Company have published the results of their bi-annual cost of construction Special Issue Brief for Senior Living Construction.

The research suggests material and labor capacity created by the recession has been absorbed by new demand, particularly in multi-family projects.

“As that capacity is absorbed, the cost to add new resources and the profit expectations for each incremental project step up, which compounds inflation,” said Larry Graeve, senior vice president – Senior Living, The Weitz Company. “Adjacent industries have peaked, namely domestic oil and gas production, yet have not added capacity for senior living projects at this point.

“At the margin, the real estate industry needs to add resources to keep up with demand created by the improved economy, low cost of capital, and the recession lag in new construction,” said Graeve. “The primary method to attract those resources will be dollars, so we expect inflation to remain strong for at least the next few quarters.”

 


The Weitz Company Selected as Design-Builder for Expansive Texas A&M Student Housing Complex

Park West Rendering

The Weitz Company, a leading national design-build and construction firm, announces its selection as the design-builder for a new student housing project at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas. The design/build construction portion of the $360 million project is $245 million.

The largest student housing complex in the country to date, the Park West will accommodate 3,402 students in more than 1,300 units ranging from studios to four bedroom units in a variety of layouts throughout the campus. The nearly 1.8 million square feet of building space will feature numerous student amenities, such as swimming pools, hot tubs, fire pits, grills, outdoor restrooms, fitness centers, study and gathering spaces, and game rooms. The complex will also include retail and office space, as well as an eight-story parking garage.

“The Weitz Company is honored to be selected as the design-builder on this very exciting project that will have a substantial impact on the footprint of the Texas A&M University campus,” said Len Martling, President and CEO, The Weitz Company. “Weitz has a reputation for quality building, as well as the ability to plan and execute multi-faceted projects, like Park West. Our team looks forward to building upon that reputation with our work for Texas A&M.”

The development will be built on 48 acres of pasture located near the south side of campus off of George Bush Parkway. The apartments are expected to open before the 2017-18 school year.

The project owner is nonprofit NCCD-College Station. Servitas, LLC of Irving, Texas is the developer and manager for Park West, and PGAL of Boca Raton, Fla. is Weitz design partner.

 


Weitz Project Engineer applies technology, helps keep others safe

Cory Rice Photo

Cory Rice, Weitz Project Engineer

It’s not uncommon for employees of The Weitz Company to give back to the communities where we live and work. However, sometimes an opportunity presents itself that’s a little more unique.

The Phoenix Fire Department recently approached The Weitz Company’s Phoenix, Arizona office to help document a house fire. The unconventional way the house was built caused the fire to spread through an unpredictable manner, resulting in a fire fighter being badly burned.

Weitz Project Engineer Cory Rice met with Deputy Chief Elby Bushong III and shared what was possible using the 3D modeling software Sketch Up. The intention was to send the finished model to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) for fire analysis to identify what factors led to the unique spread of the fire.

Rice built the 3D model at the site of the fire by carrying a laptop, measuring walls as he went. He included all doors, windows and the thickness of the walls in his notes.

“Because the kitchen was the point where the fire started, we put in all of the cabinets to show what fuel the fire had,” notes Rice. “We also showed the roof because that was how the fire traveled, between the roof and the ceiling.

“After I sent the model to the Phoenix Fire Department, they were sold on the idea and saw how powerful these models can be for future teachings,” said Rice. “They have since purchased Sketch Up Pro licenses to be able to model all their house fires for records and teaching of fire fighters department wide.”

Rice’s work will be used across the United States in first responder training, helping countless fire fighters remain safe. He was also recognized as one of only five others on the “Innovation Wall” at the 2015 Bluebeam eXtreme conference.