With the students of Rowan University in Glassboro, N.J., in need of more housing, Nexus Properties is working around the clock to finish the 220 Rowan Boulevard project in less than 15 months. Enrollment is soaring at the public university, increasing from 9,000 students to 15,000 in the past seven years.
The new six-floor, 316,500-square-foot building includes student housing, market-rate apartments, retail space and medical facilities.
There will be 119 student apartments housing 456 students. Of these, 109 will be four-bedroom units and 10 will be two-bedroom units.
In addition, the building is to feature 57 luxury market-rate apartments consisting of 48 two-bedroom and nine one-bedroom units. There will be separate entrances for the market-rate residents and students. The market rate apartments will house graduate students, university staff and residents of the community at large.
“The university has a dire need for housing,” says Joe Kline, senior project manager. “This is a unique project.
We will build, own and operate the building.”
The building is not located on university land but is only a half-block from campus. Nexus Properties also built and operates a 60,000-square-foot building across the street. “We are working very closely with university officials,” Kline explains. “We’ve met with the university president and those in the student housing and facilities departments about what their needs are and how we can help.” More than 600 students seeking on-campus housing were wait-listed for the 2014-2015 academic year at Rowan University.
Upon completion, 220 Rowan Boulevard will be the largest building in Glassboro, including the university.
“It is a gorgeous building,” Kline says. “The mass of it will be eye-catching. It is a very big building.”
Cooper University Hospital and Inspira Health Network will occupy radiology and orthopedic spaces on the lower levels.
This is the largest project in Nexus Properties’ history, notes Kline, who has been with the company for 22 years.
Groundbreaking occurred in April and the project is slated for completion in August 2015. This is a hard deadline for the construction team because the units must be available for student housing at the start of the fall 2015 semester.
In addition, New Jersey economic development funding for the project will be lost if the project is not completed
on time. To prevent that, “we are watching the schedule hourly,” Kline says.
Starting in January, work will proceed with two shifts. Workmen will be assigned to teams on the job from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and others will be on the clock from 3:30 p.m. to midnight.
There are currently about 250 tradesmen working onsite. At peak construction, there will be 350.
The project is divided into three sequences. The first sequence of steel and plant interior framing, rough plumbing and electric work was completed in late September. By November, the overall project was 40 percent completed. The building will be closed-in by mid-January. This will allow work to proceed indoors so crews won’t be outside in the winter.
Proper organization is key to meeting the deadline.
“Coordinating all the trades and getting materials and manpower coordinated correctly is necessary so we can build this in 15 months,” Kline says. “It is a large building and a lot of work.”
Nexus Properties’ office staff has been working 10-hour days to ensure all material arrives on time and the project is moving along, he says. This includes organizing the logistics of trash removal, loading, lifting and “all the typical stuff of midrise construction,” Kline says.
The project is complicated further by the shape of the building, which is 600 feet long. The building is structural steel, concrete and metal stub wall panel with bricks and EIFS finishes.
To further avoid delays, subcontractors were selected carefully to ensure they have the capacity to staff the project. “Every contractor is highly qualified,” Kline says. “It is not just the lowest bidder. We have a highly qualified workforce.”
Each of the major trades such as mechanical, plumbing, carpentry and HVAC has in excess of 30 men on the job along with experienced foremen. “We have excellent foremen and meet with them on a regular basis to find out what Nexus can do for them,” Kline says. Designed by Philadelphia based Blackney Hayes Architects and O’Donnell and Naccarato Structural Engineers, the structure is one of the largest buildings to utilize the Girder-Slab System. Faced with its aggressive construction schedule, the system has provided Nexus Properties an accelerated start to the project. Competitively bid by five structural steel fabricators, the superstructure was awarded to the Berlin Steel Construction Company of Malvern, Pa., to supply and erect both the structural steel and precast hollow core slabs manufactured by Boccella Precast of Berlin, N.J.
New College Town
This building is one component of a $300 million redevelopment project linking the university with Glassboro’s downtown retail district. The borough, university and developers are creating a quintessential college town that promotes smart-growth living with mixed-use buildings,” Rowan University says. Plans call for the construction of a one-third-mile-long corridor linking the main Glassboro campus with the downtown. Upon completion, the corridor will be lined with shops and restaurants at street level and housing and offices above. Key anchors are the apartment complex, a Barnes & Noble college bookstore and a Courtyard by Marriott hotel and conference center.