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The Wilhelm Blog

Congratulations to Bob and Larry on your impressive milestones

Posted by April Parsley on August 27th, 2015

Hunter, Larry - color - web35 Years – Larry Hunter, Superintendent

“Wow, 35 years. When I went to work for F.A. Wilhelm, at the IUPUI Natatorium project in 1978, I had no idea I would still be part of this company in 2015. I did leave for a few years in 1988, but I realized that this is the best construction company to work for, and returned in 1990. Wilhelm has an outstanding reputation, so when someone asks me who I work for, I proudly answer ‘F.A. Wilhelm Construction Company’. It feels good to work for a company that when the owners stop by to walk the jobsite they will go out of their way to look me up, shake my hand, and ask about the family.

Working for the Wilhelm organization has been quite a ride, a real pleasure. I will certainly miss everyone when I decided to retire.”


Shackelford-resume-color30 Years – Bob Schackelford, General Superintendent

Reflecting on the 30 years, there’s not one moment that sticks out, but there has been a lot of change. The people have changed and the company has really grown. It has been remarkable to see, especially to be part of the progress.

There was about a three year stretch when I worked on the Honda manufacturing facility, Indiana [Grand] Casino and the Yum! center I very much enjoyed; they were all big, fast-paced, exciting projects. I still enjoy going back to the casino and the Yum! center.

This is my job; I don’t require recognition. I hope I keep growing and continue to see the company grow. For the next generation in the family, if you work hard, communicate, and are loyal, you have the support you need to succeed.

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Neighboring projects in Muncie, Indiana bring Wilhelm trades closer together

Posted by April Parsley on August 27th, 2015

F.A. Wilhelm offers construction services as a trade contractor for Earthwork, concrete, masonry and steel in addition to its construction management services.  As a result of this versatility, Wilhelm’s trade services teams work on all sorts of projects. But, it isn’t every day they all get to work together on the same project.

When Garmong Construction Services was contracted to build the Arc Innovations Training Institute and Teaching Hotel and a new city parking garage next door in downtown Muncie, Indiana, Wilhelm was hired to provide construction trade services on both, giving all four of Wilhelm’s trade teams an opportunity to work together.

Arc Hotel at night

Photo courtesy Schmidt Associates

The Arc Innovations Training Institute and Teaching Hotel is being developed by Arc of Indiana in partnership with several public and private partners, and the City of Muncie is funding the construction of the parking garage. The hotel is the first of its kind in the nation, providing employment and training in the hospitality and food service industries for people with developmental disabilities and training for human resource professionals in hiring people with disabilities. It will also offer people with disabilities an opportunity to own small businesses in the hotel. In addition to benefitting people with disabilities, these projects are an important part of Muncie’s continuing economic development in its downtown area.

Dustin Frye, Division Manager for Garmong Construction Services said that the proximity of the two projects – located just 60 feet away from each other – presented the opportunity for more logistical efficiency. “We felt there was really added value in using Wilhelm’s trade services on both of these projects,” Frye said. “Bringing on a company capable of doing multiple things was beneficial,” he said, noting how Wilhelm was able to share crews between the two jobs.

Wilhelm Project Manager Aaron Tague said that with these projects, Wilhelm’s trade services were able to coordinate in a way that is not typical – and it served Garmong’s needs well.  Tague explained that normally, Wilhelm is in the driver’s seat, managing several subcontractors from different companies. Normally, these subcontractors work independently with limited consideration to other trade teams. “In this case,” Tague said, “Wilhelm teams were able to work together internally and optimize opportunities on the project.”

Wilhelm provided four spokes of the wheel that kept these projects rolling smoothly, including site work and structural steel for the hotel, masonry on both projects, and all the concrete for the parking garage.

Frye said both projects are going as planned and will be complete later in 2015. But he added that they haven’t been without their challenges.  Frye said the work got off to an interesting start when during the excavation, the Wilhelm team found an old basement left over from a previous structure that had been backfilled and covered up. Not a problem for Wilhelm, he said, but certainly a surprise.

Tague said one of the challenging aspects of the garage was pouring the concrete in the winter. He explained that in cold weather, concrete becomes more costly due to the admixtures, heating, and blanketing necessary to cure it. Tague said, “Imagine having to heat the underside of each floor of a parking garage to keep it warm in below-zero temperatures.” He described “putting the decks to bed each night” by laying large blankets over 100,000 square feet of newly poured and heated concrete to keep it warm, adding that this kind of work requires an enormous amount of labor and cost.

Frye said that in addition to Wilhelm’s ability to provide expertise in several trade areas, the company is also able to bring a lot of manpower to get the job done. “They have a large labor force,” Frye said. “Working through the winter, there aren’t a whole lot of subcontractors that can bring together the people you need for projects of this size.”

Tague enjoyed getting to work more closely with his colleagues in the different trade groups within Wilhelm – a rare treat for the trade services teams that are usually working on different projects at any given time. “Wilhelm is a big company,” he said, “It’s nice that we have the resources to collaborate internally to help our client meet its needs.”

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Students already talking about Purdue’s new Honors College residence halls to open in 2016

Posted by April Parsley on August 27th, 2015
Honors College

Photo courtesy Messer Construction

The Honors College is just one of the university’s more recent projects. But, these two buildings have people talking – on Twitter and on a blog devoted to the project – chronicling the construction with project updates to keep readers informed of what’s happening on the site and how it may affect them.

Catharine Patrone, Purdue Honors College  Director of Student Services, said that with any construction project, there’s always a lot of interest but it is often more concern on the part of students and staff about how that project will affect their ability to get around on campus, how they will get to work or class.  “Using a blog is one way to harvest the energy regarding construction projects around campus in a positive way, to get information out in front of it,” she said.

The two new buildings, located on the southwest corner of 3rd and Russell streets, will provide Honors College students their own community residences on campus connected through an underground hallway. The ground floor will house faculty offices, classrooms, a couple of labs, and a restaurant.

Messer Construction is managing the project, and selected F.A. Wilhelm Construction’s bid to provide concrete services.

Work started in January 2015 and it wasn’t long before the project was faced with very challenging weather conditions – rain that seemed to have no end.

When Wilhelm crews were placing the cast-in-place structural concrete this spring, dry days were indeed few and far between. According to the National Weather Service, the longest dry streak in the Lafayette, Ind. area lasted only six days. Derek Carlson, Wilhelm Project Manager, said all the rainy days made for a tight timeline.

Ron Moeller, Senior Superintendent for Messer agreed and said that Wilhelm worked hard to help keep the project on track. “Even with all the rain, the Wilhelm team wouldn’t go home. They always had a fall back plan to stay productive. During the rain, they’d go back down under the deck and do work there,” he said.

Honors College

Photo courtesy of Messer Construction

Moeller said it’s common for projects on college and university campuses to operate under a tight timeline. “They always want the building open for their next class,” adding that all the rain in June made that a bit tougher for this project.

Moeller said that working with Wilhelm has made a difference for this project, “In the construction business, everybody needs everybody else. There’s so much work out there right now, it helps to have companies like Wilhelm to help out.”

“You can get anybody,” Moeller said. “Make a phone call, and they’ll be here. But, it’s the level of talent that you get that makes the difference. Wilhelm brings the talent.”

The buildings are scheduled to be completed in time to welcome students in the fall of 2016. Wilhelm’s work on the project is now complete. Other work on the project continues, fortunately now with weather conditions far more favorable for construction.

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Summer interns leave with a bit of advice from industry professionals

Posted by April Parsley on August 19th, 2015

As summer comes to an end, the company says goodbye to the summer help. Throughout the summer F.A. Wilhelm Construction, Industrial Electric, Poynter, and Freitag-Weinhardt had interns serving in roles across the company. To say goodbye, a panel discussion was held at Poynter’s new headquarters in Greenwood, Ind., where interns received advice for their future careers from professionals in the industry. The panel featured American Structurepoint’s Jared Plank, Browning Day Mullins Dierdorf’s Jonathan Hess, City of Anderson’s Pete Heuer, University of Indianapolis’ Andrea Newsom, Eli Lilly and Company’s Earl Lamson, and moderated by Debra Kunce of CORE Planning Strategies.

tour-webTo start the event, Poynter’s president, Joseph Lansdell, gave the group a tour of its new facility. He showed them the state-of-the-art laser and described how the machine works to cut specific designs into pieces of metal. Lansdell discussed some of the projects the company is working on, including, handrails and a silo that would later be shipped to a site and assembled to store corn starch. The group was amazed at how the employees and machines worked to assemble common items seen in buildings everywhere and the wide array of the company’s capabilities.

After the tour, the group reconvened for lunch and a discussion about future careers and how to work toward goals in their careers and personal lives. Kunce led the discussion by asking the panelists questions about the worst job they ever had, what benefits to ask for, and setting goals for a career path as well as giving a bit of advice herself from her own experience.

hess-webHess told the group upon graduation, he wrote down a list of goals he wanted to accomplish in the next twenty years. He described how he was able to accomplish everything he wrote down, but looking back the most important things he’s been able to accomplish that make him the happiest, like a wife and family, weren’t on the list. He said, “When you put your goals into writing and say them aloud you are more inclined to accomplish them. But, know that not everything on that list is going to fulfill you.”

Kunce later opened the discussion up to the audience and asked, “What was one piece of advice you received from a mentor?” F.A. Wilhelm’s Operations Manager Mike Kerr answered, “Every day is an audition.” While it seems simple, people forget how their daily actions mold their opportunities in their work and personal lives. He described how his daily interactions have led to opportunities and connections.

group-webThe panelists offered keen advice to the interns to take with them in the following years as they continue their studies and begin looking for jobs. The advice also served as a reminder to the other professionals in the room and was useful for anyone in any industry.

Our companies would like to thank the interns for all their hard work this summer and remind them as F.A. Wilhelm Construction Company President Phil Kenney said, “you are the future”.

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Can structures help feed the hungry

Posted by April Parsley on August 13th, 2015

What do you get when you combine design, engineering, construction, canned food and hunger relief? CANstruction! According to the organization’s website, Canstruction was founded in 1992 by the late Cheri Melillo and her colleagues from the Society for Design Administration (SDA) to provide a fun and philanthropic effort to unite the design, engineering and construction industries. The event first began when SDA encouraged chapters to hold Canstruction competitions in their local communities across the nation. Later, American Institute of Architects (AIA) and Feeding America food banks joined the effort and expansion of the event. Today, Canstruction events are held in over 150 cities worldwide donating nearly 30 million pounds of food to feed the hungry. The event has since opened to all individuals as long as there is at least one engineer and one architect on the team.

Indiana’s state fair showcases more than just agriculture, it showcases Canstruction. 2015 was named ‘Year of the Farmer’ to honor the men and women who provide us with numerous resources. Partnering with Schmidt Associates in their first Canstruction event, F.A. Wilhelm Construction wanted to honor these men and women by building a structure that was fun and interactive. Volunteers from Wilhelm and Schmidt spent nearly three months planning for build day.

IMG_4902With three years of experience under his belt, The Phan of Schmidt led the group of volunteers through the process of Canstruction. First, the group brainstormed ideas of what they could possibly build that would grab the attention of fair-goers of all ages. They needed something that was easily distinguishable, interactive and would honor farmers everywhere. Their final decision was to build a See and Say, a toy many kids grew up with that plays a specific call when the arrow lands on the picture of an animal. “It’s [the See and Say sculpture] a great way to honor farmers and reach out to the hundreds of kids who will visit the fair,” says Wilhelm’s Therman McKelvin.

With their decision made, the team then had to design the sculpture. In years past Phan said this proved to be a harder task than imagined. “You have to take many things into account like, the location you will be building and the cans you will use to make the sculpture.” Teams do not know ahead of time where they will be located in the warehouse on build day, meaning they could be on a slope leading to a drain or a flat surface. In a previous year, Schmidt decided not to finish their sculpture because they were situated on a slope and the final piece, that did not have an affect on the structure, could possibly cause it to tip over. Many times when teams go to purchase cans the labeling and shape of the can have changed slightly. This causes an unexpected challenge in the building process because the can will not stack on top of one another very well if they are not identical.

To prepare for the purchase of the cans Phan estimated the cost by going to the store and seeing the average price of the type of food they would need based on the color of label. After budgeting for the project both companies set out to fundraise for cans. Wilhelm raised money by holding a bake sale with donated goods to sell to employees and raised nearly $500. Schmidt took a different route and sold “jean days” to their employees or auctioned off donated tickets to different events. As a team, both companies reached out to vendors and suppliers and industry partners to collected donations.

The building process on August 7th ran smoothly as teams of five worked together to stack cans on top of one another and the rest unpacked cans and disposed of trash. After four hours of building, the structure was nearly complete. After a lunch break, new volunteers arrived and finished the final touches on the structure. The final structure stands 8 feet high and contains nearly 4,000 cans of tomatoes, vegetarian beans, baked beans and other canned goods. On the side of the structure visitors are able to see the works “Moo”, “Oink”, “Cluck” and “Quack” spelled out in yellow cans. The structure also includes an arrow that spins when a button is pressed that will land on an animal and play a sound.

Final-SMPSWilhelm and Schmidt would like to thank Lynch Harrison Brumleve, Spohn Associates, RTM Consultants, Reitano Design Group, ESL Spectrum, Old Point Tavern, DL Couch, PILE. RJE & Knoll, Interfaced, ITS and Mayer Fabrics for sponsoring the build. A special thanks goes to Cyberia LTD for making the structure interactive. Without them, it would not be possible.

Phan said “It would be amazing to win People’s Choice this year, but if we don’t, we really hope to win Most Cans.” In past years, Schmidt Associates has won “Most Cans” and are very proud of the title because they are donating the most food to help under privileged families who cannot afford to feed their families. Phan also said that even if the team does not win a title he is happy to help the cause and raise awareness about the event and hunger relief.

Visit the Indiana State Fair from August 8-13 and cast your vote! “People’s Choice” award will be announced on August 14. We hope to see you there!

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Valiant – Wilhelm Partnership – A new Force to be reckoned with in the construction industry

Posted by April Parsley on July 31st, 2015

Valiant Construction is relative newcomer in the construction industry. Established in 2009 as a service-disabled veteran-owned small business, Valiant is quickly making its mark in the Midwest with several federal construction projects now under its belt. Valiant President Patrick Broderick, knows the value of strategic alliances and has worked with F.A. Wilhelm Construction on a number of projects, developing a successful partnership built on the strengths of both companies.

Broderick said that having disabled veteran-owned status allows his company to bid on federal contracts that aren’t open to the general public. “We like working with Wilhelm and often invite them to bid on these contracts with us,” he said.

“Wilhelm is easy to work with and the company has a lot of resources,” Broderick said. “They’re also able to handle very complex projects.” He explained that Wilhelm’s ability to provide construction management in addition to self-performing a lot of the work reduces the complexities that come with having to contract with several different companies to complete a project. In addition to construction management, Broderick said that the Wilhelm services Valiant uses the most is its concrete and steel work.

Architect-rendering-(1)From a business perspective, the Valiant-Wilhelm partnership has been mutually beneficial. Valiant’s status as a disabled veteran-owned business makes it highly competitive for federally funded construction projects, and partnering with Valiant has allowed Wilhelm to more fully extend its reach into this market.  In turn, Wilhelm has also helped Valiant become more competitive for large corporate projects. “Large companies have veteran and small business goals as well as diversity goals they like to meet, Broderick said, “We feel more comfortable going to those bigger companies with someone we trust.”

In addition to making Valiant more competitive for corporate projects, Broderick said his company’s partnership with Wilhelm has been beneficial in other ways, too. “We’re still a pretty young company, and Wilhelm has been around a long time. It’s good to work with a company like that to emulate its practices.” Broderick added, “Even their high-level guys are accessible. I always feel comfortable calling on them when I need to.”

Valiant and Wilhelm have worked together on the Veterans Administration (VA) Hospital in Cincinnati, Ohio and are currently working together on the Indianapolis, Indiana VA Hospital parking garage extension. The first project Valiant and Wilhelm partnered on was the historic Gene Snyder Federal Courthouse in Louisville, Kentucky.

The current work on the courthouse project is actually the second of two projects Wilhelm and Valiant teamed up on.

The first project involved reinforcing the first floor roof in the lightwell of the building in preparation for building a new courtroom on the second floor.  A lightwell is an old architectural feature – an open area in the middle of a building designed to bring natural light to the interior rooms on the lower floors. The lightwell in the Gene Snyder Courthouse was open from the top of the six-floor building down to the first-floor roof, upon which the new courtroom would be built.

Working alongside TTV Architects, the Architect of Record, Valiant managed the construction needed to reinforce the roof while Wilhelm completed the structural steel work. When it came time to build the courtroom, Wilhelm was there to provide construction management services and concrete services.

According to Wilhelm Project Manager Aaron Tague, working with a historic building is always challenging – and this one is no different.

Leaks were a chief concern with the first project. Tague said that leaks are usually not an issue because most construction projects work from the ground up. However, the new courtroom was being built on an existing roof open to the elements. In order to install the new, structural steel roof, the team had to remove the existing roof taking great care to prevent leaks and working very quickly to fix any they found along the way.

Architect-rendering-(2)The second project had its own set of challenges. To build the new courtroom atop the newly-reinforced roof, the Wilhelm-Valiant team first had to move a large boiler exhaust fan off of the first floor roof and onto a new platform constructed on the second floor. The Snyder building encompasses an entire city block and the team, working in the middle of that space, had to use much larger crane than would normally have been needed. Maneuvering such a large piece of equipment on a narrow city street wasn’t easy.

Tague said that despite these challenges, Valiant and Wilhelm were able to make both projects successful. He credits good teamwork and mutual respect for each company’s expertise. “It’s a compliment to Wilhelm that Valiant trusts us in areas where we have a lot of experience.”

Broderick said the Gene Snyder Courthouse project will be completed by the end of August, two months ahead of schedule. Finishing ahead of time is not unusual when working with Wilhelm, he said, “We’re both mindful of the schedule, and our companies work very well together.”

Tague agreed saying that Valiant and Wilhelm make a great team, “We’re proud to work with Valiant on projects like this. The more successful Valiant is the more successful Wilhelm is.”


Architects Rendering Copyrighted Material by TTV Architects, Inc.

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Congratulations to Mike, Tony and Erik on these incredible milestones with Wilhelm!

Posted by April Parsley on July 31st, 2015

Kerr, Mike20 years

Mike Kerr, Operations Manager and General Counsel

“I started my career 30 years ago as a project engineer and then became an attorney working for a large law firm.  Twenty years ago I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to work for Wilhelm, where I could utilize both my construction and legal backgrounds in a practical and constructive manner.  I have truly enjoyed being part of the Wilhelm team participating in some of Midwest’s landmark projects.  I have also enjoyed our business relationships with owners, subcontractors and the building trades. The people at Wilhelm have made working in the construction industry a great experience, and the future for Wilhelm looks bright.”


Robertson, Tony10 years
Tony Robertson, MEP Project Manager

“I have truly enjoyed and appreciate the opportunities extended to me over the past 10 years at Wilhelm.  As a former electrical contractor, I find working with all MEP trades and contractors most interesting and challenging.  I look forward to a few more years of assisting in the construction management team role and helping build a strong client base with Wilhelm.”




Dirks, Erik5 years
Erik Dirks, Preconstruction Manager

“Throughout the past 5 years I have truly enjoyed working on a variety of projects with the Wilhelm team.  I have been challenged and supported in pursuit of new projects, some being outside of our typical delivery methods. Working in preconstruction on construction management and design-build projects has allowed me the privilege to work with great owners, designers, subcontractors and our operations department.  I look forward to every new project and transforming the challenges into opportunities.”


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Volunteers revitalize Indianapolis City Market

Posted by April Parsley on July 23rd, 2015

Indianapolis City Market is a non-profit organization that supports the community and guests by offering foods, products and services in an open air setting. Every Wednesday, the organization holds a farmers market where local vendors can go to sell their products.

The leaders of the organization sought to revitalize the area and devised a plan to make the west plaza more welcoming. With the help of F.A. Wilhelm Construction, Sun King and Nies Eggert Waterproofing (NEW), the Indianapolis City Market was able to implement these plans.

Sunking VolunteersThe plan consisted of a two-day event which included a volunteer day and a grand re-opening at the weekly market.

However, before volunteers could begin working, Wilhelm and NEW needed to prepare the stage and perform other behind-the-scenes work. Wilhelm completed the carpentry on the stage, followed by an application of a waterproof coating performed by NEW. The coating gives the stage a longer life requiring less maintenance in the future. With this work complete, Sun King was able install their brand’s artwork.

On June 23, ten SunKing volunteers contributed to the directors’ vision to revitalize City Market by planting flowers and plants and hanging banners.

In addition to the revitalized City Market, volunteers also donated time to other non-profit organizations in the area, like the YMCA. These organizations assigned tasks to modernize and brighten the Indianapolis City Market Mezzanine, creating a more welcoming setting for visitors.

Link to Indianapolis City Market blog post

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Cummins to bring sustainable building design to former Market Square Arena site

Posted by April Parsley on June 30th, 2015

DSC_2221-reduced-webOn a very soggy April 9, Cummins  Inc. officials joined Mayor Greg Ballard, Congresswoman Susan Brooks, Congressman Andre Carson and Indianapolis city council members to break ground for its new global distribution headquarters in downtown Indianapolis at the former Market Square Arena site.

With the help of F.A. Wilhelm Construction, Cummins will soon transform part of the historic site – former home of the Indiana Pacers and where musical giants Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson once performed – into a building and campus that embodies the engine manufacturer’s commitment to sustainability and future growth.

According to Sally Leyes, Indiana Corporate Services Director for Cummins, the new facility in Indianapolis will help Cummins meet new environmental sustainability goals for more efficient operational logistics. According to the company’s Sustainability Progress Report for 2014-2015, environmental sustainability, along with corporate responsibility, safety, diversity, and employee development are all important factors in the company’s continued success.  The new facility in downtown Indianapolis is being designed with all of these factors in mind.

The entire campus will cover about four acres. Part of that will provide space for an employee parking garage to ensure the Cummins facility doesn’t place an additional burden on the existing public parking available in the area. The current plans also devote an acre to green space with grass and trees and landscaping intermingled with public gathering spaces.

Cummins_Recap-Street---9-stories-reduced-webThe building itself will be a modern design, with nine floors surrounded by windows and full of light, and about 155,000 square feet of office space. Leyes said the floor plans are still being finalized but they will be based on ideas that have contributed to Cummins’ success. “We’re very intentional about our space and creating the right environment for our employees. We think about our space from a diversity perspective. We want to create a diverse set of work environments so that all employees can find the right kind of space that meets their needs to be productive,” she said.

Leyes described a floor plan that includes both focus areas to provide individual spaces for quiet concentration and places for “group huddles” where a number of people can actively collaborate. There will also be small group areas to facilitate private conversations. Social places are important too. Leyes said, “We know that often, just as much work gets done in chance meetings as in offices.” She added that the conference center will address a critical need for large meeting spaces and training facilities. The first floor will house retailers, which Leyes said will benefit not only Cummins employees but also the surrounding community.

“Thinking in new ways about what makes employees productive is just one part of Cummins’ success,” said Leyes. Environmental sustainability is also a key factor. “We have such a long history that Cummins seems like a very traditional company. We started from humble beginnings in a small town.  But our changing technology has helped us embrace the other kinds of changes needed to be successful.”

“You can see in our sustainability report we have a strong focus on sustainable initiatives like recycling and reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” said Leyes. “We also use a lot of LEED principles in terms of environmentally responsible design.”

Cummins’ focus on sustainable design is one of the reasons Wilhelm Construction was selected for this project. “We interviewed a number of construction companies,” Leyes said. Noting the versatility of services Wilhelm can provide, she added, “We really like to partner with other companies whenever possible. Wilhelm was able to do the preconstruction work, participate in the design process and do the actual construction.”

Bill Spitler, Wilhelm’s project manager, said the site has presented some logistical challenges, but Wilhelm is prepared to handle them. He said the biggest challenge has been working in such close proximity to the three other large construction projects currently underway on the north, south, and east sides of the Cummins site. “We’re reasonably well contained right now,” Spitler said. “But, on any given day, we might have 200-250 workers onsite. And, with three other projects having workers onsite, getting equipment and materials onto the site can be challenging.”

The building is scheduled to open in the fall of 2016. Having worked with Wilhelm on other projects, Leyes said that she’s confident Wilhelm will be able to meet the costs and quality requirements of the project as well as the schedule.  “We’re really just getting started,” she said. “And the project is going very well.” Leyes said she’s excited for both Cummins and the city. “This campus is an opportunity for Cummins to have more of a front door in Indianapolis.  It’s going to be great for our employees, our customers, and our guests.”

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University of Indianapolis ushers in a new age in learning

Posted by April Parsley on June 30th, 2015

When students return to University of Indianapolis this fall, they’ll be checking out more than books when they visit the Krannert Memorial Library. They will have an all-new library to explore thanks to a major renovation project that’s taking place this summer – one that according to Andrea Newsom, University Director of Facility and Space Planning, will completely transform the old building into “a library for the next century.”

The $5.5 million renovation is part of the University’s Vision 2030 Strategic Plan, which calls for an array of capital projects and educational enhancements to benefit students, faculty and staff and the surrounding community.

The new library, originally built in 1977, is a key component of the university’s vision for the future. The 36,950 square-foot renovation will completely transform its interior. A three-story glass curtain wall on the exterior of the building on its east-side will provide lots of natural light and a dramatic view of the campus. Newsom said with this renovation, the library will become a major focal point for the campus, “No matter where you go, you will see this beautiful building.”

“Our vision for this library is more than the building,” Newsom said. “It’s also the programming and the learning opportunities that go along with dynamic space. We’ve taken everything we know about how students learn and engage now and have incorporated that into the design.”

There are still places for traditional learning, quiet areas for individuals to study. But, there will also be collaborative learning spaces where students can gather to work together on their projects. “Students now are active learners and they are digital,” Newsom said. “They need new kinds of resources to support variety of learning styles.”  She added the new 24-hour study lab will be outfitted with computers and areas where students can come anytime, day or night to study and work together.

Krannert_Library_Wallbreaking-Group-Photo-Sledge-Hammers-webThe Krannert Library renovation will create “a truly transformative space” for students, faculty and the surrounding community, Newsom said.

When asked why University of Indianapolis selected the Wilhelm and RATIO team for this work, Newsom said, “We’ve worked with Wilhelm before. But with this project, they just got it. Their proposal showed us how well they work together; they completely understood our vision and what we were to trying to achieve here.”

Wilhelm has completed the demolition and is a little more than a month into the renovation now, and Newsom is very happy with the progress. She said that renovating an old building can present challenges but she has confidence in the Wilhelm construction team and no doubt that the library will be ready in time for students returning in the fall.

Doug Curts, Wilhelm’s construction operations manager, credited the company’s partnership with the University of Indianapolis and RATIO Architects for getting the project up and running quickly and smoothly. Curts said, “The design process was very collaborative and all the team members were fully engaged so all important decisions were made very quickly.”

Curts added that Wilhelm had recently finished a project with RATIO at Marian University. He said, “This really translated well for the knowledge of both firms, allowing us to work together to cut down on the design time for a complicated project like this one.”

“We all put a lot of effort into identifying the issues ahead of time,” Curts said. “And, that put us in a great position. We were able to get started just two days after the University’s graduation ceremonies this year.”

For safety reasons, the university decided to close the library during construction. Newsom said it was important to make sure students have access to the resources they need during the summer session. She explained that the library staff identified the most important and commonly used resources to make them directly available to students from another building on campus. The rest of the collections are currently stored elsewhere on campus and are being made available by request.

According to Curts, the project is going very well, and the building will be open for the start of the school year. He said the only work remaining at that time will be the glass and metal curtain wall (the exterior of the building), which will be complete shortly thereafter.

Newsom said she sees something new every day albeit from a different vantage point on campus. Her office was originally located in the library and won’t be accessible until the project is finished. When we caught up to her, she was hanging out in a classroom in the Christel DeHaan Fine Arts Center.

“They demolished my office,” she said with a laugh. “So, I’m moving around a lot.” She doesn’t mind, though, and was happy to sacrifice her office for the renovation. Watching the project take shape day-by-day has been exciting and “walking around in a hard hat is kind of fun, too.”


Roberts Hall – University of Indianapolis expecting a full house

Roberts-Hall-webThis fall, when students start moving into their rooms on the fourth floor of Roberts Hall, they’ll find they have new neighbors upstairs. The fifth floor of the building, which has been vacant since it was built in 2012, will soon be home to 40 more students. Students on the fifth floor will enjoy amenities such as a fitness area, common areas in which to relax and hang out with other students, and shared kitchens.F.A. Wilhelm constructed the original building and was happy to send its team back to finish out the fifth floor, which will be complete in time for students returning this fall.

Newsom explained that the university originally didn’t need the space but planned for future growth. But now, with enrollments on the rise, this has changed, “It’s a great problem to have” she said with a laugh.

Roberts Hall is one of the newest residential facilities on campus. “Students love the space,” Newsom said, predicting a full fifth floor when the fall 2015 semester begins.

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