The CNM Rio Rancho Phase 1 Instructional Building is both literally and figuratively a “landmark project” for the College. The facility is not only the first to be constructed on CNM’s new Rio Rancho Campus located in Rio Rancho’s new City Center development area, it is also the first-ever Construction Management At Risk project undertaken by CNM and has set the standard for future such projects. These unique elements contributed to the challenges of this challenge-filled project.
Located on a 40-acre site that will accommodate future campus facilities, the 66,000 sf, $15.7 million, new multi-story, LEED Gold building serves as the gateway to the new campus. The facility includes a variety of specialty programs including: a nursing skills lab, nursing simulation labs, biology and chemistry labs and prep rooms, and computer and computer testing labs. The facility also includes general classrooms, faculty and staff offices, and a student services area. The building is constructed of steel frame and masonry with a composite slab on deck. Major materials include: limestone, brick, polished concrete and glass. Because the construction took place in an undeveloped area of Rio Rancho’s city center, all utilities and roadways had to be coordinated and brought to the site. Early and frequent communication and coordination with all public utilities and the various City of Rio Rancho agencies, such as public works and zoning, were crucial to the ultimate success of this project. The end result of this proactive planning and persistent communication was the completion of the project one month ahead of schedule.
As the first Construction Management At Risk project for CNM, the project was a learning experience for the College. The design team of SMPC Architects worked closely with the general contractor, Gerald Martin’s project management team and CNM representatives through the pre-construction process to establish project goals, develop the final design, conduct constructability reviews, and provide ongoing cost estimates and value engineering analyses in order to maintain the project’s budget while assuring on-time completion. As a result of the successful implementation of the CM At Risk process in both the pre-construction and construction phases, the team was able to maximize project efficiencies and return a savings to the school bringing the project in over $2 million under budget.
As a LEED Gold project, special care was taken to qualify the project for applicable credits. The credits pertained primarily to assuring the sustainability of the site, water efficiency, energy usage, use of sustainable and green materials, and maintaining a quality indoor environment. The credits were achieved through the innovative design provided by SMPC Architects and facilitated by the Construction Management At Risk process led by Gerald Martin.
Because of the location of the project in a previously untouched area of new Rio Rancho City Center, special attention was paid to the impact of construction on the environment and surrounding area. For example, the staging was strictly restricted to the project site to avoid disturbing the delicate desert ecosystems surrounding it. Also, traffic in and out of the area was carefully planned to limit damage to undeveloped areas while new roadways were under construction. Site sensitive landscaping was chosen with the local area fauna in mind.
As the first community college facility anywhere in Rio Rancho, this project was very important to CNM, as well as the residents and government leaders of Rio Rancho. To help promote the project in the community, SMPC and Gerald Martin facilitated frequent media requests, providing information and detail on the project, and arranged tours for the community during the construction process. Gerald Martin hosted a BBQ to celebrate the “Drying- In” and invited community leaders, workers, and CNM staff. SMPC and Gerald Martin also sponsored the ground breakings and the grand opening. The active participation, diligent project management and cohesive team efforts of SMPC Architects, Gerald Martin and CNM were critical components in the success of this project. The new building has been open for less than a year and was recently recognized as one of the Associated General Contractors Best Buildings, Southwest Contractors Best Buildings and has been certified LEED Gold by the USGBC.