New Century Fieldhouse
88,000 square feet
Before, the Johnson County Parks & Recreation Department’s New Century Fieldhouse was just an 88,000-square-foot abandoned warehouse. It took the ingenuity of Straub Construction’s talented staff to turn it into a LEED Gold-certified multisport facility—the first of its kind in the Kansas City metro area—with exercise rooms, an indoor soccer field, and courts for volleyball and basketball. “It’s the only indoor soccer [space] with a full-size youth field in the area,” Straub says. “It’s unique in Kansas City, the only one of its kind.”
Because it was a low-bid project, Straub says one challenge was having to rely on vendors and subcontractors who could potentially go out of business before the project’s end. According to him, it took 30 days to come up with the best scenario for the customer in a collaborative effort between Straub Construction, the owner, and the architect. “The owner recognized the need to make sure their investment would be something that would last a life cycle of 15, 20, or 25 years,” Straub says.
Straub Construction planned on installing the soccer field and courts over the existing concrete flooring but discovered that the floor system had failed. So, the firm had to compress the construction schedule to finish the project in the same amount of time while still getting the floor fixed. LEED points were garnered by incorporating an energy-efficient heating and cooling system; reducing water usage through better landscaping and water-efficient building products; reusing existing walls, flooring, and roofing; incorporating low-emitting materials; and employing better waste management.
Now, the massive, once-empty space is sustainably sound, and dozens of patrons and athletic leagues use it daily.
Pemberton Park for Grandfamilies
Kansas City, MO
53,436 square feet
Affordable multifamily housing
Straub Construction president Ernie Straub touts his company’s multifamily division as the best in the region, and he put employees in that division to work for the Pemberton Park for Grandfamilies. It’s a complex for grandparents raising grandchildren in Kansas City, MO, and
it’s the first project of its kind in the country. The $5.8 million development—built with a low-income housing tax credit— was completed in July 2011, and it helped fill a significant childcare gap.
“The need out there for grandparents raising their kids’ kids is staggering, especially in the urban core,” Straub says. “This project just really hit a niche that hadn’t been addressed.”
Pemberton Park consists of two buildings with 36 two-, three-, and four-bedroom units for families. The buildings are three-story garden-style structures of approximately 1,200 square feet with exteriors of masonry and brick. There’s a playground between them, and social services such as counseling and health are located on-site.
There is a limited number of sites available in the city’s core, and most of the remaining ones offer a significant construction challenge or two. Pemberton Park’s multiacre site on a hillside required rock excavation and blasting as well as the installation of retaining walls to protect neighboring structures, according to Straub. Another challenge was meeting all the regulatory requirements of the city and state.
“It’s challenging to deliver on a fast-paced, tight time frame [and] on a tight budget,” Straub says. “[It’s] absolutely satisfying.”
The project now has a waiting list to get in, one that’s been there since it first opened. ABQ
Update: Following its appearance in American Builders Quarterly, Straub Construction went on to win multiple awards from the Associated Builders and Contractor’s (ABC) Heart of America Chapter. The firm took home the 2012 General Contractor of the Year award for the third straight year, and it also earned a number of Excellence in Construction awards for various projects. Additionally, Ernest Straub III and Parker Young each receieved the 2012 Keystone award for their time and dedication to ABC.
The firm won awards from other organizations as well. Its historical renovation of the Leavenworth Building earned recognition from the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the National Housing & Rehabilitation Association, and the firm itself made Midwest Real Estate News’ 2012 list of the “Best of the Best Top Construction Companies.”
Looking ahead, Straub is honored to part of the project team for the Bancroft School Apartments. The historical renovation project will turn the former educational space into LEED Platinum-certified affordable housing, and it’s visionary in its plan and design. Brad Pitt’s Make It Right Foundation is a contributor and helped the project get national attention. The groundbreaking ceremony was held on Nov. 3, 2012, and construction is set to be complete by December of 2013.