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Part of the journey to Austin

image Built by Journeyman Construction, the new VIA transit center, Centro Plaza, is full of modern touches including colorful lighting and stainless steel finishes.

SAN ANTONIO – As a general contractor that branches out from its home base in Austin to its closest branch in San Antonio, Journeyman Construction is playing a part in the plan to make travel between Austin and San Antonio easier and faster.

Journeyman recently completed work on Centro Plaza, a modern and illuminated plaza built as a multi-modal transit center for the VIA Metropolitan System of San Antonio.
    “Centro Plaza is one out of three plazas being built as part of a master plan which will provide public train transportation from downtown San Antonio to downtown Austin,” explains Mauricio Ramos, EIT, project manager. “Centro Plaza in downtown and two more similar plazas on the north and south areas of San Antonio will be the main hub stations for the bus system which will connect with the future train station across the street from Centro Plaza.”
    The approximate cost of construction for this project was $16 million, not including design or FF&E (furniture, fixtures and equipment). Work began in July of last year and was completed last month.
    The plaza is approximately 150,000sf and includes three new buildings. The waiting area building is an air-conditioned building for the public to wait for the next bus. The multipurpose room includes public restrooms, a ticket vending area, conference room, kitchen and mechanical room. There is also a core and shell building with canopy.
    The build also included a historic building remodel, tower, two semi-circled canopies around an open landscaped area, and a Primo canopy that spans across Medina Street.
    “The color matrix in this project is very modern, neutral and ‘cold’ using non-directional stainless steel finishes as well as aluminum and glass,” Ramos describes. “But this changes after sunset as the lighting spread all over the elements of the project creates a spectacle for the public.
    “The plaza and tower illumination is definitely one of a kind with almost every element of the project being illuminated. The sophisticated wireless lighting system allows the plaza to change colors based on an astronomical clock and to communicate with the surrounding illuminated buildings, such as the Children’s Hospital.
    “Having this huge lighting package, the coordination to fit all the fixtures and components and make them almost invisible to the public, was definitely a challenge.”
    He notes that the other major challenges to construction were the heavy rain events in April, May and June this spring, which occurred while the team was working on the underground and paving phases of the project.
    On another interesting note regarding the design, Ramos adds, “According to archeological studies, the Alazan Acequia used to go through the plaza on a more or less north-south direction. This project has a landscape feature that resembles the Alazan Acequia with ripple stone and ground colorful light fixtures.
    “Centro Plaza is also environmentally conscious. The plaza includes a sustainable underground storm water storage tank. The water stored in this tank is used to irrigate the landscape and trees within the plaza and keeps on recycling and filtering itself.”
    The superintendent on the job was Rick Elledge, LEED AP, and the regional vice president for Journeyman is Andrew Waterman, LEED AP.
    The prime architect was Perkins Eastman, based in New York City. The lighting design team, Domingo Gonzalez Associates, was also based in New York City. The associate architect, Ford Powell & Carson, and landscape architect, Bender Wells Clark Design, are local to San Antonio.
    The engineers included IES (Intelligent Engineering Services) for civil, based in San Antonio, and Architectural Engineers Collaborative for structural and SHAH Smith & Associates for MEP, both firms based in Austin.
    Subcontractors on the job included Fred Clark Electric, Gratr Lanscapes, CT&S Metalworks, Byrne Metals, La Salle Affordable Builders, Accu Aire, San Antonio Tile, Texas Glass, CKA Enterprises and Bill Fitzgibbons.
    Established in 1996, Journeyman Construction is based in Austin with offices in San Antonio, Corpus Christi and Fort Worth. –mh

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Sue Johnson sjohnson@constructionnews.net