Featured in IQ: 2010 Volume 2 Issue 3
Garver, in a joint venture with Cromwell Architects Engineers, worked with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (COE) on a $31 million project to construct a new Bureau of Indian Affairs Wingate High School in Fort Wingate, N.M. and upgrade associated site infrastructure.
"This was a large infrastructure project, and our understanding of the Corps of Engineer's design standards and regulations proved to be a vital component," said Garver Project Leader John Watkins, PE, SE. "The Albuquerque District has some unique structural design requirements, and we were able to quickly adapt them and successfully integrate the standards."
Supported by a history of working with the COE and aided by expert knowledge in the federal project process, Garver's team remained attentive to cost-control needs while meeting the specific design criteria.
Based 1,000 miles away from the construction site, Garver's corporate office in central Arkansas provided site and structural design and worked closely with the Albuquerque District COE to make sure distance didn't affect design quality or speed of service. Communication and flexibility were key components, especially when Garver designed the upgrade to the campus' infrastructure and utilities system. This involved complex construction phasing to maintain operation of the student dormitories and the active campus.
"It was approximately 50 years old, and even with the best information, there was no telling what we were going to find," Watkins said. "So when unanticipated site conditions were uncovered during construction, we worked closely with the contractor and COE to quickly make design modifications."
Unique design aspects included undercutting the building site 8 feet to remove expansive clays and bring in reconditioned native soils and imported granular material. Site grading and stormwater design were also vital components, as major retaining walls were required to accommodate a 14-foot grade across the length of the new high school building.
Project elements included constructing a replacement 142,000-square-foot building that accommodates multiple academic departments, a dining hall, gymnasium and library. Site improvements involved replacing the aged campus utilities, constructing a 300,000-gallon elevated water tank, upgrading the sewage lagoon and expanding parking lots to handle athletic events. The existing infrastructure was constructed in the 1960s on a 50-acre site, and internal deficiencies existed from a multitude of age-related causes.
In addition to the Albuquerque District, Garver has worked closely with multiple COE districts, including Memphis, Little Rock, Fort Worth and Tulsa.