Based on past success in the public sector, the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) selected Ryan to completely renovate and remodel the Bishop Henry Whipple Federal Building located at Fort Snelling in Minnesota and built in 1969.
Providing full preconstruction and Construction Manager as Constructor services on the project, Ryan assisted with the re-configuration of the existing federal building to accommodate six new courtrooms, a full detention facility with single and group detention cells, a new prisoner elevator and separate prisoner sally port, and thousands of square feet of office space for various federal agencies. The scope of the project included lead and asbestos abatement, the removal and replacement of all mechanical, plumbing, fire protection, electrical systems and replacement of all interior finishes.
The Bishop Henry Whipple Building serves as a symbol of Ryan’s strong relationships within the public sector and commitment to projects that create a lasting, positive impact on the environment and within the community.
The Whipple project is an excellent example of the GSA’s commitment to renovate and improve the function and energy efficiency of existing government-owned facilities rather than starting from scratch and building new.
Whipple’s approach to sustainability involved developing the means by which the building could generate its own sustainable energy. “Sustainability” usually means conservation and reduction of energy use. Renewable energy is still a relatively cutting-edge concept and one that often takes great effort to develop and execute successfully. The patience of the public sector in trying these initiatives is opening the doors for renewable energy measures in the private sector as well.
The project involved the installation of a photovoltaic panel system to generate electricity and a solar array to produce a minimum of 30% of the building’s hot water heating needs. The scope of the project also included lead and asbestos abatement, the removal and replacement of all mechanical, plumbing, fire protection and electrical systems, and the installation of an 800-well geothermal heating and cooling system for the building. The system is one of the largest installed in the upper Midwest and is approximately 72 percent more efficient than traditional electric heating and air conditioning systems.
The result was a very intelligent, high performing building achieving LEED Gold Certification.
The $163 million project was funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). Once ARRA funded the project, Ryan and HGA expedited the process of getting jobs at the field level initiated quickly. Hitting the market at a low point in the recession, job creation and stimulation of the local economy were central goals of the project.
Over the four years of the project, 873 jobs were created, and about 98 percent of the federal funds authorized for the project were spent within 100 miles of the project site for services, materials, equipment, wages, insurance, utility costs and taxes. Small businesses, including small disadvantaged business enterprises, veteran-owned, women-owned and service-disabled-veteran-owned businesses, received 38 percent of the project contracts.
ARRA funding requirements also specified that design and construction had to be delivered in the most economically feasible means possible. Early project goals to leverage Building Information Modeling (BIM) to enhance design and streamline construction quickly evolved into delivering the GSA an intelligent building and BIM platform that will optimize building operations and maintenance activities for the next 30 years.