Foundations to be poured this winter for new NGA facility, construction on-schedule for 2025 move-in
Workers are laying foundations and footings for NGA’s new facility in north St. Louis as construction remains on-schedule, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, said Sue Pollmann, NGA West executive and program director for the Next NGA West.
The building is slated to be completed in 2023, with IT installation in 2024 and a move-in date of 2025.
“One year after groundbreaking, we’re really pleased on how things are going with this project,” Pollmann said. “Certainly there have been some challenges presented by COVID-19, but we still plan to complete our move-in in 2025.”
Current construction activities at the Next NGA West site are focused on placing concrete for building foundations, foundation walls and footings for the facility’s main building and parking garages, said Jeff Boyer, vice president of operations for McCarthy Building Companies, which is leading the facility’s design-build team, along with HITT Contracting. That foundation work will continue for the next 6-7 months, he said.
“When all said and done, we’ll have put in place about 96,000 cubic yards of concrete,” Boyer said. “That’s about 12,000 concrete trucks that will come through the gate.”
Until recently, construction activities at N2W were focused on grading and laying utilities for the site, said Boyer, and that work is largely completed. He said the construction team moved about 775,000 cubic yards of dirt at the site in 2020.
In the spring of 2021, about 6,000 tons of structural steel will arrive at the site, Boyer said, and visitors will see the shape of main building and parking structures “come to life.”
Boyer said currently there are about 350 men and women on-site each day. The project has not faced labor shortages or labor availability issues because of COVID-19 or any other issues, he said. He credited the construction team for following COVID-19 precautions on-site every day, including face-coverings, social-distancing and hand-washing.
“The most important thing we’re doing is keeping our workforce safe,” Boyer said. “With precautions in place, we’ve been able to minimize the impact of COVID-19.”
Col. William Hannan Jr., commander of the Kansas City District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which is overseeing the construction of the facility, said safety is his top concern. “The N2W team of NGA, McCarthy HITT and USACE are strictly following CDC guidelines for COVID-19,” he said. “Safety is always a USACE’s No. 1 priority – both for construction safety and COVID measures that we have implemented.”
Monica Bailey, director of diversity for McCarthy Building Companies, said the project is on track to meet inclusion goals to include 25 percent minority-owned and 5 percent woman-owned businesses for subcontractor participation; and 15 percent minority and greater than 5 percent female for the individual workforce participation.
“It’s still very early in process and we have a long way to go, but we are currently exceeding our goals for boots on the ground,” Bailey said.
Bailey said the project has 17 contracts that have been awarded to minority-owned business enterprises — including in operations, maintenance and HVAC — and eight to women-owned businesses — including in roofing and fencing. She said there are still many bids still in-process that have not been finalized.
Hannan said that since early in the planning phase of the Next NGA West, reaching out to the community has been a focus of the team at USACE and NGA. “With McCarthy HITT joining the team, we have only enhanced our engagement,” he said. “Some of the activities that we have participated in over the years are hosting construction training fairs and industry days in the community, participating in workshops and panels, and attending neighborhood meetings around the Next NGA West site.”
While precautions to slow the spread of COVID-19 paused some of the neighborhood outreach efforts, including open-house visits on-site, Hannan said the team plans to re-start those events when safety allows in 2021.
Pollmann said community outreach has been a major focus for NGA. She said NGA’s recent activities in the community — including K-12 school outreach with St. Louis Public Schools; NGA’s partnership with Harris-Stowe State University to train STEM educators , NGA’s Moonshot labs at the T-REX innovation center to advance efforts between NGA, industry and academia in the region in geospatial technology, and NGA’s new geospatial accelerator with Missouri Technology Corporation to connect NGA and the people and new businesses that can help NGA with some of its hard problems, and help those new companies get their technology off the ground — are some examples of how the agency is building and growing partnerships in the St. Louis area with schools, academia and industry.
Pollmann said she has seen the continued progress of the Next NGA West project build “enthusiasm and momentum” in the region for the St. Louis geospatial ecosystem.
A thriving geospatial ecosystem in St. Louis is crucial to NGA’s success in the future, said Pollmann. “Our workforce will come from next generation of students coming out of our local schools,” she said, “and our industry and academic partnerships are crucial to helping us solve national security challenges we face to keep nation secure.”
Construction at Next NGA West, by the numbers:
- 96,000 cubic yards of concrete (equivalent to nearly 1.5 million 20 oz. cups of coffee)
- 140,000 work hours have been recorded (as of Oct. 30)
- 89,000 linear feet (nearly 17 miles) of conduit installed below the main office building
- Over 775,000 cubic yards of soil moved as of May 30 (equivalent to filling Busch Stadium with soil 1.5 times)
- 5,700 tons of steel have been ordered for the next phase