New Art & Science Building Opens on CSUB Campus

New arts building and satellite central plant enhance growing campus in the central valley.

Located on the northwest corner of the California State University, Bakersfield (CSUB) campus, the 15,000-square-foot Arts Center is a state-of-the-art facility in the new humanities quadrant of the campus. Housing studios for ceramics, sculpture, drawing and painting, digital arts and printing are organized around a central courtyard. This facility will be an educational gathering place for CSUB arts and humanities students, and enhance the University’s offerings to prospective students.

The ceramics, sculpture and printing studio open to a large covered service yard to the south. When combined with the service and courtyards, the usable space is doubled. All studios have extensive northern daylighting as well as shaded circulation provided by covered walkways. Other support areas include lockers, equipment storage and a repair shop. The project is designed to LEED Silver requirements but is not seeking certification.

The project also includes a new satellite central plant (MEP utility) requiring the construction of a 3,000-square-foot plant building and 1,600-square-foot cooling tower enclosure. Attached to the plant building is a 600,000-gallon thermal energy storage tank, a 600-ton chiller, all associated utilities, piping and controls. This utility plant serves the Art Center but is also intended to serve future expansion of the campus.

“You have worked hard on this project and your entire team and the result speaks for itself. Not only was the project successfully completed but also finished around 84 days ahead of schedule and yielded savings of around 125K out of CM contingency and allowance. I thank you and your entire team.” -Hasit Panchal, Project Manager, CSU Bakersfield

Surpassing Established Goals

“This project was a huge success for the University and Rudolph and Sletten,” says Rudolph and Sletten project manager John Abraham. “We built great relationships with a new client and delivered the project 84 days ahead of the University’s scheduled completion. We were also able to return $124,954 of allowances and contingency back to the owner.”

At the beginning of the project, Rudolph and Sletten’s team worked directly with Hasit Panchal, project manager for the CSUB Facilities Department, to establish ground rules for a successful project. Budget control was at the top of the list, and we worked closely with Mr. Panchal to track the budget on a weekly basis. The frequent and thorough tracking helped him evaluate any change requests that came from user groups as the project evolved.

The team also conducted multiple field walks with both user and maintenance groups to ensure the facility would not only serve the intended function but also be easily serviceable and maintained.

Protecting One of California’s Most Endangered Animals

Much of the undeveloped site is designated a San Joaquin kit fox habitat, one of California’s most endangered animals, with specific restrictions for working in undisturbed areas. John and his team closely coordinated with CSUB and a biologist to avoid any disruption to the habitat area. The area was continuously monitored and written clearance was requested prior to any work taking place in the area.

Building Efficiencies

The Art Center had multiple structural and framing elements. Comprised of CMU walls, structural steel columns, wood framing beams, premanufactured wood trusses and a combination of wood and metal decking roofs—the contract drawings called for different methods to hang overhead utilities. Working with our subcontractors, the structural engineer and the truss manufacturer’s guidelines, the team developed standard details that could be installed at any condition. This resulted in economies for the subcontractors to install and for the inspectors to review, while also providing an aesthetically pleasing finish within the open ceiling design.

Developing New Subcontractor Relationships

“Over the course of my career I have had the luxury of working with subcontractors that we have strong working relationships with,” explains Abraham. “This always resulted in a clear understanding of the contract, general requirements and the ITB’s, and the highest quality work. The location of this project was out of range for many of our subcontracting partners. With a large group of new subcontractors, we partnered with them very early and closely so that they understood what the expectations were on a Rudolph and Sletten project and the quality that we sought to deliver to the client.”

John and his team established expectations in conjunction with the subcontractors and assisted them in achieving the required results for the University. Our daily communications and coordination with CSUB project manager Hasit Panchal also helped clearly define project goals and guided subcontractors efficiently to the finish line.


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