Green building to sprout

A greener Student Services Center will soon be built at Chico State University—and this time they didn’t have to settle on the cheapest price.

Turner Construction was selected to do the job, the first project to be undertaken since the rules were changed from the previous “take the lowest bidder” method.

The 120,000-square-foot building, to be located at West Second and Hazel streets, will meet the standards of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), focusing on energy efficiency, sustainable-materials selection, water conservation and indoor environmental quality, including hypoallergic carpet glues and wall paint.

Joe Wills, Chico State’s public-affairs director, said it’s becoming more affordable to use greener materials. The $34 million building should have a life of at least 50 years.

Prior to the new hiring method, which is called Construction Management (CM) at Risk, the university would go with the lowest-bidding contractor and often end up in disputes or even lawsuits as projects went over budget, construction was delayed or mistakes were made.

Chico State disputed charges by the contractor who built the new Bell Memorial Union building and cut short another contractor’s work on the Common Management System conduit-laying.

Another component of the new hiring method is that the construction firm, not the architect, will estimate costs and guarantee a maximum price for the project.

“It is expected that this method will save time, money and provide improved quality compared to the design-bid-build method that was previously used,” Dennis Graham, vice president for business and finance, stated in a press release.

New York-based Turner Construction was chosen from among 10 companies and is corporate sponsor of the LEED standards. The firm built the $14 million UC Davis Tercero Dining Commons, the $57 million UC San Francisco at Mission Bay Community Center, and the $65 million UC Santa Cruz Student Housing and Dining Hall.

The building should be completed in summer 2006.