The athletic center is rapidly coming together! With exterior walls and roof nearly complete, serious work has started inside. The gym floor itself will be the subject of another construction update when it goes in, but in the meantime, there are a dozen workers upholstering interior spaces.
There is still a huge opening in the east wall to allow material like the pallets of sheet rock and flooring to be loaded into the gym, and heavy equipment to be removed as it is finished with, but in just a couple of weeks the building will be sealed and final interior appointments installed. At this point, everything not affected by the weather is being bolted, glued or welded into place.
The locker rooms, coaches’ area and workout rooms are forests of light gauge metal studs waiting for drywall, which can’t go in quite yet – the building has to be “dried in” (watertight) first so, in case of rain, the drywall does not get damp. The building will be dried in by early April and, at that point, “tenant improvements” will begin in earnest. Interior walls will have acoustical insulation installed and drywall will be hung, taped and painted.
But all wall coverings are not created equal! While the normal interior drywall that will cover 95 percent of the non-gym area walls will be smooth and must be kept dry, there are two other kinds of wall covering used.
Regular drywall will be used for offices, locker rooms and other auxiliary rooms but, for the playing area itself, special acoustical paneling that “looks like it has ramen on it,” will cover the drywall, said Matt McKinley, senior project engineer. These Tectum panels will keep the noise under control during the exciting games.
The third wall covering, called DensGlass, is used only in limited interior areas, specifically, the basement, where utility rooms had to be drywalled prior to drying in so heavy junction boxes and other electrical equipment could be installed while exterior walls were still open. This special drywall resists moisture without being entirely waterproof, so is okay to hang prior to drying in – the rooms stay dry even if it is raining outside and there is high humidity due to the building being partially open to the elements.
Special reinforcing will be run behind drywall to allow for the mounting of fixtures. For the bleacher area, blocks of wood 6 inches by 8 inches will be anchored in the north wall, and the bleachers will bolt to the blocks. Light-gauge sheet metal will be installed behind drywall in other areas of the building to support fixtures mounted to the wall.
With the exception of the playing floor, most of the athletic center will have polished concrete floors. Polished concrete keeps costs down and makes for a long-lasting, easy-to-maintain surface. Coaches’ offices will have linoleum flooring or carpet, while all locker rooms and other wet rooms, like the hydro-therapy room, will have ceramic tile; all good, solid, durable floor coverings. Stairways are of cast concrete, with some having a rubber coating for safety.
One of the less glamorous finishing jobs is making sure pipe, conduits and ducts all line up and don’t run into each other. Devcon, using the architect’s plans, worked up a three-dimensional digital model using computer-assisted design software. The model helps the construction company manage each set of utilities and scan for problem areas. This process is called building information modeling (BIM).
“We model all of the duct work, all of the pipes, all of the steel … everything we do to see if there are any conflicts,” said McKinley, “and run a clash detection so you can see if a pipe is running into a duct, and so on.” He pointed out where a 4-inch water pipe ran through a hole cut through an 18-inch steel support beam. Thanks to the BIM, “we knew they were going to have to bore through that steel beam to allow that pipe to pass through it.
“It used to take longer in the field,” said McKinley, when workers would discover a conflict and have to resolve it before continuing. Now the conflicts can be predicted and work carried forward quickly. “Once you have the model, everyone knows how to build it as soon as they get out here,” he said. “You still run into problems, but the 3-D modeling really helps speed the process.”
Other Points of Interest
There are some nice features coming to light as the open areas are framed in, such as the fitness room in the southeast corner (on the freeway side, near the new performing arts center), where a 12-foot by 6-foot mirror will slide to one side to allow a birdseye view of the playing floor below.
Not yet installed are all of the trappings of a state-of-the-art athletic center and, when they are installed, many pieces will be on the ceiling. Volleyball nets, basketball hoops and other P.E. equipment will be fastened to the ceiling and lowered into place for use, then lifted to clear the area for the next activity.
Decorations will include two 20-foot-square banners opposite the bleachers featuring a male and female athlete. There will be a giant eagle on the gym floor, but details are still being worked out as the design has to mesh with all the lines for the various playing courts that will be painted on the floor.
From McKinley’s point of view, things are starting to get exciting. The last 20 percent of a project takes 80 percent of the work, he noted. “We’re trying to finish up in three months,” he said. “It is always a scramble at the end, but the project team is all working hard and on track to turn the gym over this summer.”
Beginning in June 2016 Harker launched two new state-of-the art building projects on the upper school campus, the result of a $45M capital campaign. The 33,000 square-foot athletic center, opening August 2017, features a 12,000 sq.-ft. gym, athletic training room with advanced hydrotherapy unit, and spacious team rooms. The Rothschild Performing Arts Center, opening spring of 2018, features a 450-seat theater with fly loft and hydraulic orchestra pit, a state of the art scene shop, vocal, instrumental, theater/musical theater classrooms and dressing rooms. For more information visit the news and video links below or contact email@example.com