Torcon – Holly Pointe Commons
Torcon’s work on the Holly Pointe Commons project shows what an exceptional team can accomplish in a short amount of time.
By Eric Slack
Founded in 1965, Torcon is known for providing exceptional construction management and general contracting services to leading corporations and private institutions. Today, Torcon the company is among the largest and most active builders in the Mid-Atlantic States, and it is also a premier construction manager in Puerto Rico.
Torcon has built its reputation by tackling many large and challenging projects for its clients. Having taken on more than $4 billion of construction in the past decade, Torcon specializes in everything from biotech and pharmaceutical plants, hospital and healthcare facilities, and academic buildings to retail and commercial centers, office facilities and airport facilities.
“As one of the biggest general contractors in the Northeast, Torcon is constantly striving to maintain a strong reputation,” Senior Project Manager, Matthew Bentley says. “That is how you get and keep business. The company is not afraid to invest in the people, safety and quality in order to ensure clients are raving fans of our work. We mostly build large-scale commercial projects, and due to our talented and diverse staff we can support a wide degree of product types serving all industries.”
Coming to Life
One recent project for Torcon is the Holly Pointe Commons project. In the past year, the company began construction on the 304,000-square-foot housing facility at Rowan University in Glassboro, N.J. As a multi-storied building, this project will add on-campus residential and community space for 1,400 students.
As construction manager, Torcon will provide preconstruction coordination, management of budget development, scheduling, safety and quality, cost control, and implementation of a comprehensive onsite construction program. Holly Pointe Commons is being designed with sustainability in mind, using LEED Silver certification practices. Construction of the residence facility is already underway. Using an aggressive schedule, the project is set for completion in time for the 2016-2017 academic school year.
“Rowan University initiated the concept for the project in January 2015 and immediately began the process to organize a team that could design and build the project so it could open in August of 2016,” Bentley says. “Traditionally this size project would take more than three years to complete, and we have compressed into 14 months.”
The project is a public-private partnership between Rowan and University Student Living, the comprehensive campus housing company of The Michaels Organization. Holly Pointe Commons includes dual four-story buildings and a seven-story building that will be connected by a three-level bridge. Designed by Philadelphia-based Erdy McHenry Architecture, the project features a serpentine shaped footprint, which creates a new campus oval with greenspace for student gatherings.
“University Student Living is Rowan’s eyes on the project, Erdy McHenry Architecture is the project architect, and we have brought in mechanical and electrical contractors to support a design-build process for the mechanical and electrical design,” Bentley says. “From January to April last year, we created the general design and broke ground in May 2015.”
The Fast Track
The aggressive schedule has required extensive planning and collaboration in order to ensure that all aspects of the project could proceed in sequence. Subcontractors on the project have been able to consistently deliver their respective areas of the project at the right time in order to keep everything moving. In just one example, Concord Atlantic Engineers, the mechanical and electrical designer, worked closely with the project team to create a design that was constructible within this time frame.
“Along with Concord, senior general superintendent Jim Hausman, the subcontractors and myself worked tirelessly to create innovative ways to drive the process and to provide material and manpower to get the job done,” says Bentley.
Because of the building’s innovative shape, perimeter bedrooms will be grouped around central gathering spaces, designed to engage the students in a community atmosphere. “The building is designed like a backwards J. We had to come together as team and overcome the layout and installation challenges to put this curved building in place,” Bentley says.
The building’s expansive façade is constructed of metal panel and glass curtain wall with large windows throughout. It includes floor to ceiling glass at community lounge areas, as well as a 20,000 square foot dining facility with seating for more than 500 students, seminar rooms and easy access to laundry services.
At present, most of the project is complete. Site work is taking place, along with the final systems tests, final inspections and documentation that remain to be completed prior to the project receiving its certificate of occupancy. The project is aiming to reach this milestone by the end of July 2016.
Thanks to its extensive higher education construction experience, Torcon has been expertly positioned to meet the challenges of this project. Torcon is proud to be a part of the project team and part of the growth and development of Glassboro. The company feels the project will enhance Rowan University’s campus and student life. It will also contribute to Rowan’s extensive growth plans, as the school is essentially looking to double in size over the next few years. The university is an active participant in the development of the community, and Holly Pointe Commons is part of its long-term vision.
In the end, Holly Pointe Commons is designed as a forward thinking building, incorporating the highest quality design and construction materials. Torcon is thrilled to be a part of Rowan University’s plans for the future, and the company believes its success on this project will contribute to its reputation for excellence.
“The quality of the project and our ability to work on an aggressive schedule will show clients that we can produce exceptional buildings even on tight schedules,” Bentley says. “A tireless amount of work has gone into getting this project done right in a short time period. We have shown we can accomplish challenging and aggressive goals while maintaining safety and quality. That reflects our core belief that maintaining our reputations in the industry will continue to make us stand out as the contractor of choice.”