The Ohio Valley ABC held the Excellence in Construction Awards on May 28th. The Excellence in Construction Awards honors the area’s most innovative and high-quality construction projects. For Maxwell’s submissions this year, we selected two projects that we believe show cased Excellence in Construction. The Davis Zeller Place in Brazil, Indiana, and the Lawrenceburg Civic Park in Lawrenceburg, Indiana were both submitted. At Maxwell Construction we strive to challenge ourselves while still delivering quality facilities, these projects allowed us to do just that. The Civic Park earned the Merit Pyramid Award and the Davis Zeller Place was awarded the ABC Eagle, which is the most prestigious award representing Excellence in Construction. See below to learn more about each of these outstanding projects.

Davis Zeller Place

Maxwell served as the Architect, Historical Consultant and Builder for The Davis Zeller Place project. The project consisted of a total of 48 apartment units through the renovation of the D.H. Davis Building (built in 1909), the renovation of the Brazil Junior High School (built in 1946) and the construction of six duplex homes on blighted properties throughout the city.

Maxwell decided to select this project for an ABC Excellence in Construction Award as it brought unique challenges both known and unknown from the start of the project. The historical aspect of this project was significant to the design and construction portions with two major parts of the project being Historic Renovations. Midway through the Historical Part II submission, which is the approval from the National Park Service (NPS) the Historic Consultant backed out. Maxwell stepped up to the plate when the Owner did not have another Historic Consultant. NPS approval was critical so that the Owner could close with investors in time to guarantee there would be no delays in construction.

At the D.H. Davis Building we spent a large amount of time repairing the masonry. We tuckpointed a large amount of the brick, completed dutchman repairs on portions of the limestone, re-glazed the terra cotta, and rebuilt the limestone tablet above the front entrance that displayed the building name and date constructed. Under the terra cotta parapet band at the top of the building were decorative terra cotta modillions around the entire South and West elevations. Many of these were missing after being improperly tuckpointed in expansion gaps, causing the modillions to crack and fall off the building. As part of the masonry repairs, the missing modillions were replaced. We were able to take one of the modillions that had fallen from the building and recreate it. A 3D model of the existing modillion was created so that we were then able to translate that information to a CNC machine and replicate the modillion in foam. The foam then was coated with a smooth EIFS finish and painted to match the adjacent modillions. Installing the replicates saved thousands of dollars in cost while meeting the standards of the Secretary of Interiors Standards of Rehabilitation.

The Brazil Junior High School brought its own challenges. One of the first surprises we uncovered was a 310’ utility tunnel system under the first floor. During our Design phase visits, there was an area that was always filled with water in the mechanical room that we assumed was a sump pit that collected water due to no power in the building. After a few hours of pumping out the pit and the water level barely dropping, the Superintendent realized there was an opening below the initial water level. This was the start of the tunnel system where the original boiler and chiller piping were being run from the mechanical room to the rest of the building. Knowing it had the possibility of filling up with ground water during future wet seasons, the owner felt unsettled leaving the tunnel system behind.  To mitigate the situation, we created several access points to accommodate our Environmental remediation contractor to safely enter the tunnel and remove the existing pipe and asbestos insulation before filling it with flowable fill.  Fortunately, there were cost savings during the by-out process of the project that were used to cover the cost for the unforeseen condition.  We were able to continue construction without any delays to the schedule.

A smaller part of this project but making it even more challenging were the duplex houses scattered amongst the City of Brazil.  As part of the community commitment, the developer was building six duplex homes on sites that were deemed by the city to be blighted properties. The initial plan was to build the same duplex on each site, but we determined that was not going to be possible after reviewing each site. The layout was similar but had to be tweaked for site conditions. We ended up building four different floor plans. We fought with building placement from the very beginning. Each site was only ¼ acre and currently had a two-story, single-family home built on it. We were going to be placing single story duplexes on the sites while still honoring the existing building setbacks. Site conditions also caused issues on each site. On one site, we ran into poor soil and an abandoned well and cistern. Because of the footprint of our new duplexes, the site grades that worked for the single-family home were now amplified, causing site concrete rework or new retaining walls at a few sites. One site was located within an historic district. The driveway of this house needed to enter from the rear of the house, from an alley and we also needed to modify the design of the front elevation to better mimic the design styles of that historic district.

At one point in the project, all eight buildings were under construction at the same time. The furthest distance between two construction sites was just under one mile. With eight different job sites underway, the project schedules were a critical factor to making sure we stayed on time and delivered exactly what the Owner pictured while staying within budget. With direct office support from out Project Manager and Designers along with on-site supervision of our Superintendents the Davis Zeller Place was a complete success for all parties.

This project granted us the opportunity to take on the tall order of being the Design-Builder and Historical Consultant. With the partnership of New Hope Services and Maxwell Construction we were able to breathe life back into both historic buildings, while keeping the exquisite historical elements alive. Maxwell achieved LEED Gold certification at all six duplexes and NGBS Gold certification at the Brazil Junior High School and the D.H. Davis Building. By the completion of this project we had eight new facilities that we were proud to present to New Hope and the City of Brazil. The Davis Zeller Place project is an excellent representation of the rehabilitation of two historic buildings by utilizing today’s construction methods and technologies.

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Lawrenceburg Civic Park

Maxwell acted as the Construction Manager as Constructor on the Civic Park in Lawrenceburg, IN. The project entailed the conversion of the asphalt parking lots in the city to a 2-acre multi-use park. The park includes a performance stage, restroom facilities, splash pad, lawn space and paved walk areas. This project was chosen as it brought growth to the community that we work in daily and is an excellent representation of different trades within the Construction Industry coming together with one common goal.

Once we signed a contract with the city, our role was to coordinate every aspect of the job to deliver a beautiful multi-use park. We came on board at the preconstruction phase. We had the city, the design firm, the architects, the sub-contractors, the residents, surrounding businesses and many others to coordinate to achieve a beautiful finished project. The work started in the schematic design phase, after numerous meetings, the design was starting to come together. There were many specialty items, which included the children’s splash pad area, custom sound system, lighting packages, video screen projection, public restrooms, green room, and public Wifi.  One unique aspect of the design was the performance stage structure itself. Early on it was made clear that this performance stage was a very critical element to the project, and something the city wanted to make a statement with. They wanted the stage to replicate a “bridge like” structure which would serve as an exemplification of the old river town of Lawrenceburg, Indiana. They identified the stage as the “crown jewel” of the park.

Once construction began, we instantly ran into challenges we found that the previous demolition contractor had not removed all the old stone foundations, brick, concrete slabs, abandoned utilities and other foreign materials. These obstacles had now become ours to deal with and presented more issues to the potential timeline. Throughout this phase, there were many unexpected and undocumented surprises. Inevitably, it seemed that if it was possible to be in the ground, we were going to come across it as we proceeded with the underground utility scope of work. These obstacles added delays to the construction schedule but the release of phase 2 bid packages was what gave this project the jump forward it needed to allow us to be at a point to have the site prepped and ready before the cold winter months would soon be setting in. While it was still summer there was over an acre of multiple types of decorative concrete that needed poured before the season change.

We released Phase 3 for bidding which was inclusive of the performance stage steel, stage finishes and roofing and electric. Once the steel contractor was awarded the job, it was soon evident that this would not be an easy process. There were nearly 600 engineering man-hours over a 10-week period of detailing this structure. This included a lot of discussion and collaboration between the Steel Contractor and the Architects/Engineers to ensure no detail was left out in the process. When the drawings were finally complete, we were able to get it into fabrication which would help us determine a delivery date. It took 1,300 man-hours to bring the fabrication of this piece of steel art to life. The specifications called for a shop applied epoxy paint as well, which could not be completed until the project was finished in its entirety. While we were anticipating the arrival of the stage structure, there were other things that also had to be delayed. We could not complete the roofing, or the whiskey barrel stave ceiling as those details depended on the installation of the steel stage structure being completed. We made the decision to adapt the schedule and created a plan so that contractors would be able to safely continue working while also allowing them to be more productive.

Once we had placed the steel structure, we prioritized getting the crane off the site. This allowed for more room for other trades to be able to work in the area immediately adjacent to the stage. One of the final details to be completed for the stage was an intricate suspended ceiling lined with old whiskey barrels. This was just one of the many details within the design that portrayed the city with the “Whiskey City” theme, that had become so prevalent within the city. It was at this time; we were finally able to complete the last bit and finishing touches to the decorative concrete throughout the park. All of the efforts in planning and coordination were coming to fruition.

The landscapers began to phase their way through the site with the Indiana Limestone Boulder walls, granite pavers, terracing greenspace and snaking the irrigation system throughout the park.  With the construction of the park nearly complete, it was time to get everything ready for the final touches and lay down the sod, with enough time to allow it to root before the big day. The limestone boulder walls pulled in a natural flow throughout the park. The “crown jewel” of the park, the steel stage, truly shined. With so much design, planning and hard work that was put into the stage, it was the icing on the cake. Even though the park was nearly complete, timing was still critical. The finishing touches for the testing of the sound system, lighting controls, pole lights and many other items were taking place simultaneously as we were nearing project completion. Every element on this project had to be properly planned out and synchronized. In the weeks prior to the grand opening we were wrapping up on punch list items and doing some final cleaning of the park. The children’s splash pad was complete, and the fountains and lights were synced throughout the park.

The partnership between Maxwell Construction, Strand Associates, MKSK and MSA was one of a kind as we were all up to the task of converting these empty parking lots into the park the community wanted. All parties stepped up their game and cooperated with each other at the highest level and the project goals were not only met but exceeded the Owner’s expectations. All the contractors can proudly say they played a role in enhancing the community offerings for years to come. We were proud to be given the opportunity and the trust the City had in us to deliver this project.

At the Grand Opening we were able to hand over the state-of-the-art Civic Park to The City of Lawrenceburg and all were proud with the end result. We provided tremendous value in this project as we were not just building a facility for an Owner, we were able to be apart of the team that helped build a part of Lawrenceburg, Indiana that will remain a staple of the community for years to come.

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