Project of the Year Feature – New Construction – Chicago (Above $20M)

Project of the Year Feature – New Construction – Chicago (Above $20M)

January 8, 2024

BURR RIDGE – CISCO’s 1st Project of the Year Feature is the top choice of New Construction – Chicago (Above $20M), which is the Chicago Park District Administrative Headquarters, Fieldhouse and Site Development. General contractor was Paschen ALL Joint Venture; client was the Chicago Park District.

When considering submissions, judging criteria is based on: quality of construction, design, impact on the community and safety record.

CISCO Pride in Construction Feature

The Chicago Park District Headquarters meets all of the City of Chicago’s goals for the Brighton Park neighborhood: revitalize the community through job opportunities, establish an area for community events and recreation space, and add park land to a heavily developed area. © CONNOR STEINKAMP PHOTOGRAHY

Sparking community growth: that was the goal Chicago city leaders had when moving the Chicago Park District’s headquarters to the underserved Brighton Park community. And as the general contractor on the project, the Paschen ALL Joint Venture helped make this vision a reality.

Paschen ALL Joint Venture led the construction of the Park District’s 79,000-SF new building, including administrative offices, a community fieldhouse, athletic fields, and other recreational space:

– Administrative Building – The 57,000-SF, multi-story, circular administrative headquarters building required a staggered construction approach to ensure timely completion. Paschen ALL Joint Venture provided a range of site improvements, including parking, walkways, and outdoor lighting as well.
– Fieldhouse – Sharing the footprint of the Administrative Building, the 22,000-SF fieldhouse includes a gymnasium, fitness center, bathrooms and locker rooms, multi-purpose rooms, staff offices, teen center, and welcome lobby.
– Outdoor Recreational Space – Construction of the outdoor park improvements included two artificial turf athletic fields, athletic field lighting, grand lawn, walkways, a children’s playground, nature play areas, and a splash pad.

CISCO Pride in Construction Feature

The finished building provides both administrative space and a fieldhouse with plenty of meeting spaces and terraces for community use. © CONNOR STEINKAMP PHOTOGRAHY

From the complex design of the building to unforeseen site conditions to material scarcity, Paschen ALL Joint Venture faced several construction challenges. Its strong working relationships across all stakeholders was key to delivering viable construction solutions.

Paschen ALL Joint Venture first challenge was to achieve the design vision without compromising construction quality. The two-story, circular building is actually two structures bisected through the middle by a courtyard/walkway and connected by three bridges on the second story. Their approach involved building the structure in quadrants, moving clockwise as work progressed. Paschen ALL Joint Venture staggered trades so that when one group finished, they could move to the next quadrant while the next set of trades began in the first. This required consistent communication and coordination amongst subcontractors.

CISCO Pride in Construction Feature

The 17-acre site includes plenty of green space and park land. The grand lawn on the right allows for passive recreation and space for community events. The dirt area on the left will grow into meadowlands with paths winding through the greenery. And even the rooftop offers green space with rooftop gardens that will house up to 30 different types of plants. © CONNOR STEINKAMP PHOTOGRAHY

Discovered conditions also created a challenge. As construction began, Paschen ALL Joint Venture found that the 17-acre site was littered with concrete foundations and slabs remaining from buildings previously on the property. Removing them all would be both time consuming and expensive, and we found several underground storage tanks, all of which required removal. To address these unforeseen site conditions, the Owner granted a $4M allowance for concrete and tank removal. Paschen ALL Joint Venture worked closely with the designer to carefully lay out all installations, such as foundations, utilities, trees, etc., in advance to minimize the concrete requiring removal. Their approach minimized the Owner’s spend, using only $2M of the original $4M allowance.

Finally, because work commenced during the pandemic, material scarcity due to supply chain shortages became an issue. Paschen ALL Joint Venture  worked closely with the Owner and designer to identify alternative products that they could source quickly and within budget, which would meet building specifications.

The Paschen ALL Joint Venture deployed a comprehensive safety program at the site that addressed not only worker safety but the surrounding community as well. From weekly jobsite audits and toolbox talks to the daily completion of job hazard forms at the beginning of each work shift, their safety program ensured safe work practices at all levels. Paschen ALL Joint Venture also incorporated periodic site safety audits with its major subcontractors, creating an interactive safety culture across the project.

CISCO Pride in Construction Feature

The full-size gymnasium provides a dedicated area for community basketball programs. © CONNOR STEINKAMP PHOTOGRAHY

As part of Paschen ALL Joint Venture safety program, they had to address several unique safety challenges particular to the site. The first was the removal of a large tree that abutted the nearby Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) train tracks. Removing the tree required close coordination with the CTA to avoid long commuter delays and ensure track integrity and safety.

In addition, James Shields Middle School is directly across from the west end of the site, on a cul de sac, which was a key access point for trucks entering and leaving the jobsite. To protect the safety of school students and staff, Paschen ALL Joint Venture added a construction gate, which would deter site access from unauthorized personnel. They also limited use of the gate during school hours, particularly during busy drop-off/pickup times so construction traffic would not interfere with school operations or create a hazard. Doing so helped protect not only the jobsite, but the safety of the larger school community.

CISCO Pride in Construction Feature

Meeting spaces and group fitness areas overlook one of two courtyards at the center of the building. © CONNOR STEINKAMP PHOTOGRAHY

John Ronan Architects (JRA), the AOR for the project, developed a design concept that is a modern take on Chicago’s historical Parks & Boulevards system. The design incorporates multiple site purposes – administrative offices, community spaces, and recreational spaces.

The site is anchored by a dual-purpose, circular building with divergent uses: a 57,000 SF administrative center and a 22,000-SF fieldhouse, surrounded by a continuous park pathway that periodically widens out into a series of courtyards and plazas. The pathway extends through the center of the building, delineating its divergent uses. Athletic fields, a grand lawn, and meadowlands also provide greenspace throughout the site.

F.H. Paschen used our established, three-phase quality control program that is modeled after the US Army Corps of Engineers program and includes preparatory, initial, and follow-up inspections for each definable feature of work. F.H. Paschen encouraged full transparency and collaboration with all stakeholders, and held numerous prefabrication and pre-pour meetings with the subcontractors and Owner’s representatives to discuss and confirm procedures, schedule, impacts on the community, and construction of mockups to ensure that all parties agreed on the products prior to fabrication and installation.

CISCO Pride in Construction Feature

Outside recreational space includes two full-size artificial turf athletic fields, a children’s playground, and splash pad. © CONNOR STEINKAMP PHOTOGRAHY

As with all F.H. Paschen projects, quality control was addressed in detail at weekly project meetings in order to review the previous week and prepare for the week ahead. JRA was extremely specific with their vision on every part of the project. Therefore, it provided numerous mock ups on all features of the project, including several different types of concrete finish, brick patterns, expanded metal sunscreen, etc. In addition, the concrete slab of the building was poured in the winter, which required stringent quality control to ensure the slab was heated and cured properly to certify strength and proper flatness. This included using in-slab concrete monitors to watch present concrete temperatures and distribute our heaters correctly. Finally, the project site was filled with unsuitable soil and urban fill that required a lot of attention to compaction testing and undercuts by Paschen ALL Joint Venture’s ITL. For all foundations and utility piping, they compaction tested the soil. They then worked closely with the engineers to establish parameters that allowed for efficient solutions. This kept work progressing to undercut piping and forms, ensuring settling would not be a future issue.

The key to success on this project wasn’t just the quality of Paschen ALL Joint Venture team’s construction. The true success is the positive impacts this project has on the surrounding community. F.H. Paschen partnered with All Construction Group, a minority-owned business with strong ties to Chicago, and they exceeded the City’s M/WBE participation goals of 26 percent MBE and 6 percent WBE. Paschen ALL Joint Venture’s work created more than 300 construction jobs during the project and has permanently brought 200 Chicago Park District jobs to the area.

Moreover, the 17-acre site now provides parkland and amenities for the children and families living in the community and offers a unique space that combines workplace and recreation.

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