- Company: CSM Group
- Industry: General Building
- Location: Kalamazoo, Michigan
- Expected Completion Date: March 2016
- Project Website
CSM Group was recently selected to serve as the construction manager for the KVCC Bronson Healthy Living Campus, a health-focused campus in the heart of downtown Kalamazoo. In cooperation with Bronson Healthcare Group and Kalamazoo County Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, Kalamazoo Valley Community College’s vision for this project was to create a campus focused on wellness and food sustainability.
The new campus was developed on 13.3 acres of unused land donated by Bronson Healthcare Group, where KVCC has expanded its curriculum to include training in sustainable food production, distribution, and preparation.
What impact does this project have on America?
We are amid a health crisis. Poor health impacts our well-being and our economy. Lack of access to affordable healthy foods, and the resulting poor dietary choices, contribute to the onset of preventable diseases and a reduced quality of life. In Kalamazoo County, over 63% of adults are overweight or obese. Across Michigan, more than $3 billion is spent annually on medical costs associated with diet-related health conditions.
Meanwhile, food production causes more than half of all water pollution in the U.S. and at least 9% of the greenhouse gas emissions that lead to climate change, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
In 2013, a partnership was announced between Kalamazoo Valley Community College, Bronson Healthcare, and Kalamazoo Community Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services. The Bronson Healthy Living Campus is a catalyst for urban revitalization, community health and workforce development through sustainable food education, training, production, distribution and preparation. The Bronson Healthy Living Campus is an anchor project that creates jobs and spurs economic development in downtown Kalamazoo.
The synergies developed between the project organizers, the new medical school, the City of Kalamazoo, and others will meet increasing consumer demand for holistic approaches to food education and health by preparing the next generation of professionals for existing and emerging careers.
What interesting obstacles or unusual circumstances did you overcome to complete the project?
Portage Creek, a tributary of the Kalamazoo River, ran directly through the construction zone. Great effort and diligence were taken to ensure all control methods were in place and working appropriately as to not impeded the flow and contamination of the waterway. Part of the project’s scope was to redirect the natural flow of the river to approach from an easterly route. The natural flow was redirected using careful excavation tactics and sheet piling. With the river redirected, the ability to form the new route, along with landscape features including new control berms, rock/retaining walls, natural habitat plantings, and structural construction supports, was accomplished. Once this scope was complete, the waterway was carefully opened with proper flow and the environmental habitat was restored.
A second component of the project scope was to create a compensating cut for a new, higher building and parking lot elevations within the Arcadia Creek flood plain along 2,500 feet of the riverbed. This work expanded the flood plain to compensate for these higher building elevations. Control measures were put in place during excavation efforts to ensure that contaminated soils and groundwater were not introduced into the river flow. This included the use of natural erosion control such as quick germinating grasses, waddle, silt fence, and earth barriers to minimize erosion and promote containment.
Furthermore, extensive dewatering was required for the building excavations and was disposed of properly, depending on testing results and contaminant levels.
What dangers and risks did you encounter, and describe any extraordinary methods used to keep workers safe?
In our field of work, we are exposed to far more hazards daily than the average profession. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), nearly 6.5 million people work at approximately 252,000 construction sites across the nation on any given day. Throughout the duration of this project, there were, on average, 145 trade contractors on site daily. By the project’s completion, approximately 215 trade contractors were involved in the construction, in some way shape or form, and there were no lost work days on all projects for the duration of construction.
At CSM Group, we lead with safety but with these many individuals involved with the project, we focused on safety with a fine-tooth comb. After all, it is our responsibility as a construction manager to provide a safe working environment and to ensure that our teammates return home to their families safely at the end of the day.
During the bid process, each trade contractor was required to submit their Total Recordable Incident Rate (TRIR) and Experience Modification Rate (EMR) metrics, which were taken into consideration when sorting out scopes of work.
Since this campus project involved working in a highly-occupied area of the city and had many unique challenges involved, CSM Group needed to ensure that the safety, most qualified trade contractors were selected. Before the start of the project, those selected trade contractors were required to participate in a trade contractor orientation session to establish project expectations. At the completion of the orientation session, each trade contractor received a sticker to place on their hardhat to recognize their commitment to lead with safety.
How did you leverage new technologies to work faster and reduce waste?
In constructing the KVCC Culinary/Allied Health Building, CSM Group had the responsibility of working in collaboration with the City of Kalamazoo, Bronson Healthcare Group, Department of Environmental Quality, Michigan Department of Environmental Equality, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to ensure construction impact to the surrounding environment was minimal. There were many aspects of the existing and natural environment to account for, including surrounding city parks, residential properties, public access/walkways, bus routes, Bronson Hospital — which is open 24/7 — and a river/creek, all which need to have safe routes of access and the ability to remain fully functional.
Our team invested quality time and resources to ensure our impact to the environmental footprint surrounding our project site was safe and always monitored. We did this with proper erosion control measures, separation barriers, tributary curtains, mulch blankets, air, soil, and water monitoring