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Flying high

image Highway view of the Wings Building Lead Center

DALLAS/FT WORTH - McCarthy Building Companies Inc. is the oldest privately held national construction company in the United States. Founded in 1864, the firm has been involved with some of the highest profile projects in the area, which is why McCarthy was the right choice for the Southwest Airlines Facility Training and Administrative Office – Wings project.




    They have a long history of building facilities that drive greater value. From exceptional levels of quality and safety, to ease of maintenance over time, they are firmly committed to helping their clients and partners achieve the short- and long-term strategic goals on every project they do.
    The Wings Building Lead Center and Administrative Offices consists of both a new training center that includes 414,000sf of office space and an attached 367,000sf flight training facility. The flight training center houses 18 simulator bays, associated offices and ancillary areas. The training center provides access to simulator time and training for Southwest’s new and veteran pilots.
    At a cost of approximately $200 million, the project took just under two years to complete after breaking ground in June 2016.
    Designed by BOKA Powell, the new facility interiors feature open format break rooms on each of the floors. Additionally, memorabilia from Southwest’s 50-plus years of operation are displayed throughout the building. The project expands Southwest’s campus, providing space for their expanding workforce, which has nearly doubled in the past 12 years.
    The project was constructed across Denton Drive from Southwest’s main headquarters and Love Field. Working on a site in such an active area with strict security requirements mandated McCarthy’s teams and all subcontractor teams undergo rigorous security checks. Once approved, a badging system ensured only those cleared for site accesses were on site at any given time during the 19 months of construction. Upon completion, the project brings the Southwest campus square footage to more than two million.
    A particular challenge facing the McCarthy-BOKA Powell team was the requirements of the ‘hardened’ building. It had to be designed and constructed to accommodate 24/7/365 operations regardless of natural or man-made disaster. This building can withstand winds of 210 miles per hour and includes a parking garage and additional infrastructure including site work and pedestrian bridges.
    McCarthy met this challenge by self-performing the concrete work on the project. In this way, they were able to work directly with the design team to understand the physical requirements and resulting design. Further, McCarthy’s concrete team provided input into the specific concrete mix and curing techniques needed to achieve the required structural stability. The result is a facility that meets the needs and was delivered to Southwest within the budget.
    Although not delivered as a design/build contract, the working relationship among BOKA Powell, McCarthy, LA Fuess and RWB Consulting Engineers closely resembled a design/build, integrated team. The tight schedule with zero float was exacerbated by weather delays in the early days after ground breaking. To overcome the delays, the team, which included Project Manager Anthony Lauchner, Superintendent Chris Arpia and Project Director Nate Kowallis, banded together, co-locating with BOKA-Powell onsite to facilitate zero delay on requests for information. Further, they reached out to the owners’ representative and included him in the colocation effort so that any and all decisions had immediate client input. This kind of close quarters operation demanded a transparent approach to all aspects from design through construction completion.
    McCarthy Building Companies Inc. is a full-service general contractor with 16 locations across the United States including Dallas. –cmw

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Carol Wiatrek meditor@constructionnews.net