Western State Housing Project injects more than $3.7 Million into Local Economy

July 6, 2012 (by Will Peterson, project manager, JE Dunn Construction) — When Western students return to campus this fall, not only will the school have a new name, it will have a new 93,000-square-foot student housing complex. The state-of-the-art, 54-room Pinnacle Apartments is just another sign of progress on the campus of what will soon be known as Western State Colorado University.

The $16 million student housing project, led by general contractor JE Dunn Construction (Colorado Springs) and designed by Design West Architects (Logan, Utah), began a year ago with the demolition of Coronado, Beckwith, and Keating Halls, former housing and food service facilities that were originally constructed in the 1930s and 1950s. Scheduled to be completed in July 2012, the new apartment complex has generated excitement on campus and made a significant economic impact across the community.

“Western is a leading generator of economic activity in the Gunnison Valley, and it is important for us and our students to support our local vendors and contractors,” said Western President Jay Helman. “We’re fortunate to have many outstanding, locally based professionals whose work on our latest construction projects has made our vision of a modern, sustainable campus a reality.”

To assess the economic impact of the construction project across Gunnison and the surrounding area, JE Dunn began tracking and compiling expenditure data (including expenditures from all subcontractors) last June when the project broke ground.  

During the first 12 months of the 13-month project, the total economic impact on the Gunnison community has been more than $3.7 million, including direct costs (contracts with local sub contractors and costs spent locally on hotels, food, gas, shipping, etc.) and local-labor wages for contractors and subcontractors. 

From the outset, JE Dunn and its major subcontractors demonstrated a strong commitment toward hiring local employees, and when possible,  purchasing materials through local vendors. As a result, the project helped create local jobs while generating revenue for local businesses.

“JE Dunn was committed from the start to partner with local contractors and vendors on this exciting project,” said Kevin O’Gara, vice president for JE Dunn. “Their dedication and hard work have been critical to completing the new Pinnacle Apartments on time and within budget.”

Gunnison-based contractors on the project included All County Survey, Mountain Fireplaces, Spallone Construction, CSI, Valley Plumbing, Tri-River Appliances, Timberline Mechanical, Buckhorn, SGM and Gunnison Construction & Septic. More than a third of the subcontractors used on the project were from Gunnison.

The Pinnacle Apartments includes two, four-story wings of two-, three- and four-bedroom suites. It now represents the tallest building on campus and in the city of Gunnison. The design is planned to achieve LEED Gold certification for energy efficiency and environmental sustainability, under the LEED for Homes Midrise Pilot Program. The state-of-the-art facility will include community rooms, a greenhouse and an on-site recycling center. 

Once construction is complete, JE Dunn Construction will then focus on demolition of the existing Shavano Residence Hall Complex to make way for the new 118,710-square-foot recreation center/multipurpose field house. JE Dunn is teaming with Sink Combs Dethlefs Architects for the newest project, which will include an NCAA-regulation-sized indoor track, multipurpose interior courts, offices and classroom space. It will be the highest-elevation collegiate competition track in the United States.

Scheduled to be completed in  Spring 2014, the recreation center/field house will call for various trade disciplines, including demolition, earthwork, landscaping, concrete, mechanical, electrical, plumbing, steel erection, framing/drywall/finishing, painting, casework, flooring, carpentry, laborer, stucco, masonry, door & hardware, windows, fire protection and elevators.

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Friday, July 6, 2012 - 11:45am