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Georgia News - September 2009

Value of Georgia’s July Contracts Fell 41%

The overall value of new Georgia contracts signed in July for future construction declined 41% compared to the same period of a year ago, according to McGraw-Hill Construction, publisher of Southeast Construction. The total value of new contracts for the month was roughly $1 billion, compared to last July’s $1.8-billion total.

The residential category fell 29% compared to last year, for a total of $326 million. The nonbuilding sector, which includes infrastructure projects, declined 78% during the month to total nearly $170.9 million. The nonresidential category was flat compared to last July, for a total of $546.3 million.

For the year to date, Georgia activity is now 49% behind the first seven months of 2008, with approximately $6 billion in new contracts so far. That compares to the approximately $11.6 billion at the same time last year. The nonresidential sector is 41% behind the 2008 pace, with a total of roughly $3 billion. Residential is 56% behind last year’s pace, with $1.8 billion in new contracts. The nonbuilding market is 53% behind last year, with a $1.1-billion total.

Choate Selected for $60-million University Housing Project

North Georgia College & State University in Dahlonega selected Atlanta-based Choate Construction for a two-phase, $60-million project that will include both new civilian and cadet housing, structured parking and a dining hall.

“We need to double our size to accommodate several years of rapid enrollment growth, as well as continued future growth,” stated Mac McConnell, the school’s vice president of business and finance. North Georgia College & State University is The Military College of Georgia

The project’s first phase includes an 85,000-sq-ft, 352-bed cadet housing complex; a 147,000-sq-ft, 602-bed civilian dormitory; and a 335,000-sq-ft, 1,080-vehicle, six-story parking deck. This phase is scheduled for completion in August.

Phase two includes a 36,500-sq-ft dining facility. This portion of the project is expected to be delivered in July 2011.

Ambling University Development Group is the project’s developer. Lord, Aeck Sargent is the architect. Jones Lang LaSalle is the program manager.

Turner Awarded $52 Million in Correctional Contracts

Turner Construction Co. is managing the construction of two jail expansion projects in the state of Georgia for Corrections Corp. of America. The projects will accommodate 1,660 additional inmates upon completion in June 2010.

The $27-million expansion of the Wheeler County Correctional Facility in Alamo includes construction of two dormitory buildings to house 792 prisoners. The $25-million expansion of Coffee County Correctional Facility in Nicholls will accommodate 868 prisoners.

New South Building New Police Facility in Douglasville

Atlanta-based New South Construction, teaming with HOK and CPS, is working on a $20-million design-build contract for the Douglasville Public Safety and Municipal Court Building. Future home of the Douglasville Police Department, this building includes new office and meeting space, fitness room, locker rooms, interview rooms, evidence processing labs, holding cells and security system.

The building also houses Douglasville’s municipal court, which includes a court room with seating for 330 people. The project also includes a new two-story, 15,000-sq-ft public safety training building.

Atlanta Motorsports Park Unveils Design for Eco-Friendly Race Track

Atlanta Motorsports Park unveiled the design for its new 2-mi-long motorsports driving course. Park officials are touting the new track as eco-friendly. It was designed by Formula One engineers at Tilke Architects.
In announcing the design, CEO Jeremy Porter stated: “Some of the greatest minds in motorsports say they believe this track will become truly legendary—141 ft of elevation changes and two of the most famous turns in motorsports have been incorporated into the track; one is the famous Eau Rouge sector of the Spa-Francorchamps Circuit, and the other is the nostalgic Carousel banked corner found at the Nurburgring.”

Atlanta Motorsports Park is a private country club.

Turner Wins Design-Build Contracts for CDC, Cobb Co.

The Atlanta office of Turner Construction Co. was selected to build two major projects totaling approximately $150 million. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention hired Turner to provide design/build services for a $93-million, 311,000-sq-ft office complex. The project, referred to as “Building 24,” is adjacent to the CDC’s headquarters in Atlanta.

Building 24 is targeted to achieve a LEED Gold certification from the USGBC. The contractor previously handled the construction of CDC’s Building 23.

Also, Cobb County awarded Turner a $57-million design-build contract for its Superior Court Building in Marietta. Completion is scheduled for December 2010.

The 230,000-sq-ft, six-story facility will include judges’ chambers and suites, courtrooms, administrative space, district attorney’s offices, a clock tower and bridge connecting the new facility to an adjacent building.

Georgia Slapped by Court in Tristate Water Dispute

A federal district judge has issued a ruling that creates a significant setback for the state of Georgia in the ongoing water wars among Florida, Georgia and Alabama.

U.S. District Judge Paul Magnuson, from the District of Minnesota, on July 17 ruled Georgia must stop using water from Lake Lanier to meet Atlanta’s drinking-water needs within three years unless Congress permits it. He also ruled withdrawals over the next three years must be frozen at current levels.

Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (R) called the ruling a “monumental milestone....The judge’s decision allows the governors to come together to reach an agreement outside of the court system.”

The ruling is the latest development in an 18-year saga pitting the three states against each other over use of waters in the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River Basin. The disputes have focused primarily on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ operation of its four Chattahoochee River dams. The largest is Buford Dam, a 192-ft-high, 2,360-ft-long earthfill structure that forms Lake Lanier, north of Atlanta. Congress authorized its construction to provide flood control, hydropower and navigation improvements.

Atlanta now relies heavily on Lake Lanier for its drinking-water supply, but Florida and Alabama say they also need water from the reservoir for commercial fisheries, farms and municipalities.

The key question in the current case is whether the Corps could lawfully re­allocate water from Lake Lanier for drinking-water purposes under the Water Supply Act, a 1950s-era law that said modifications of certain reservoir projects required congressional approval.

Florida and Alabama argued the Corps was obligated to seek congressional approval to oversee water-supply contracts and install water-intake structures in Lake Lanier because Buford Dam was not authorized as a water-supply project.
“The court recognizes this is a draconian result,” Magnuson wrote in a 97-page ruling. But “The Corps’ failure to seek congressional authorization for the changes it has wrought in the operation of Buford Dam and Lake Lanier is an abuse of discretion and contrary to the clear intent of the Water Supply Act.”

Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue (R) says he is “deeply disappointed” by the ruling and will appeal. He adds that he plans to look to Congress for assistance in settling the dispute. Source: Engineering News-Record. By Pam Hunter.

Value of Georgia’s June Contracts Slides 50%

The negative drumbeat continues for contractors working in Georgia, as June again posted a severe decline in the value of new projects moving forward. McGraw-Hill Construction, publisher of Southeast Construction, reported that the overall value of new Georgia contracts signed in June for future construction fell 50% compared to the same period of a year ago. The total value of new contracts for the month was roughly $900 million, compared to last June’s $1.8-billion total.

The residential category fell 55% compared to last year, for a total of $284.5 million. The nonresidential category dropped 42% to total $443.2 million, down from last June’s $765.8 million. The nonbuilding sector, which includes infrastructure projects, declined 56% to total nearly $172.2 million.

For the year to date, Georgia activity is now 51% behind the first six months of 2008, with approximately $4.9 billion in new contracts so far, compared to the nearly $10 billion at the same time last year. The nonresidential sector is 46% behind the 2008 pace, with a total of $2.5 billion. Residential is 61% behind last year’s pace, with $1.5 billion in new contracts. The nonbuilding market is 40% behind last year, with a $945.3-million total.

Stellar begins renovating Georgia military lodging facility

Stellar, a Jacksonville, Fla.-based design-builder, is working with the U.S. Army to design and construct a complete renovation of the Fort Stewart U.S. Army Lodging Facility near Savannah.

At 60,000 sq ft and three stories, this facility offers short- and long-term lodging for soldiers in transition and active military personnel and their families. The temporary quarters are also used by official personnel traveling to Fort Stewart.

The building has been gutted for interior retrofit that encompasses electrical, plumbing, air conditioning, roofing, partitioning, security, datacom systems and interior finishes. Construction is under way with completion planned for early 2010.

Batson-Cook Secures Three Contracts for Northside Hospital

Batson-Cook of West Point, Ga., has negotiated two new projects with Northside Hospital–Forsyth and was awarded another at the Cherokee campus. These new projects include a vertical expansion to the Northside–Forsyth Surgery Center, interiors work to the Women’s Center on the same campus, and a new medical office building in Cherokee County.

The $17-million vertical expansion to the Surgery Center will add three levels and 52,800 sq ft. The Women’s Center will receive new patient rooms.

The $8.6-million MOB project will add 59,500 sq ft of medical office space and is expected to complete in January 2010.

Vance Smith, Jr., Named New Georgia DOT Commissioner

State Representative Vance Smith, Jr., R-Pine Mountain, chairman of the House Transportation Committee, has been named commissioner of the Georgia Dept. of Transportation. Smith took office in late June.

Smith succeeds Gerald Ross, who served as interim commissioner since February and who now will return to his previous position as the department’s chief engineer.


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