For the public good
SOUTH TEXAS – It was a project that was many years in the making and finally came about as a collaborative and serendipitous melding of the needs of two different entities.
KEDT, Corpus Christi’s public radio and TV stations, needed a new facility and Del Mar College needed state-of-the-art technology for its students pursuing careers in radio and television. They joined forces to create a brand new station adjacent to the college.
Teal Construction in Corpus Christi was the general contractor on the $5 million project that started in September 2014 and finished in December 2015.
“A number of years ago we were comparing the future needs of the college and the station,” said Don Dunlap, general manager for KEDT. “We were in a lease situation and needed to get out of it. We have state-of-the-art technology that the college didn’t have. They had this piece of land they had no use for. It was a win-win situation.”
According to Dunlap, the college is charging KEDT $100 per year for the land and also paid for the parking lot and its infrastructure – a move that saved KEDT about $1 million.
The station project was paid for through a capital campaign, which Dunlap is happy to report is about 90 percent complete.
“We collaborated on the design to meet the needs of both organizations,” Dunlap says. “We will use the college students as interns.”
Tom Gentry was project manager for Teal Construction. Project superintendent was Dusty Lacey.
The new construction consisted of 15,000-sf of a suspended concrete foundation and a structural steel building.
The exterior is metal wall panels, finished concrete wall, burnished brick façade trim work, and ACM panels with bright aluminum paneling around the top and front entrance.
Inside, half the building is polished concrete floors and the rest is carpet. The front reception lobby is divided into radio and TV and there is a wing on building mostly for radio production and control and four sound rooms, along with a music library, space for news announcers, a central meeting room and a central equipment room that houses big racks of electronics and equipment that ties it all together, Gentry said.
“The biggest room in there is the TV studio,” Gentry said. “It houses all their TV cameras and production equipment.”
The studio has supporting rooms, with audio and production control, and TV and editing rooms, which also work as sound rooms.
The studio is very highly rated for sound. There are double walls with an insulated concrete roof.
“There is all kinds of insulation in the walls and on top of the walls,” Gentry says. “You walk in there and you think there’s something funny going on with your head because there is no sound.”
Other areas include prop storage areas, restrooms, accounting and office space.
One unique feature of the project is an outdoor performance plaza. It consists of a courtyard in the front with an exterior stage and a provision for projecting videos onto the wall.
Dykema Architects was the project architect and Biby Dykema, who has been active on the station’s board in the past, said she and husband John Dykema visited plenty of pubic radio and TV stations to see what features worked the best.
“Station management knew what they needed,” she says. “John and I toured other stations all over Texas so we confirmed what they needed. Del Mar was delightful to work with.”
Josh Seahorn, partner at Dykema Architects, was the Dykema project manager.
Challenges on the project consisted of several things, Gentry says.
“Weather was a challenge,” he said. “When we started we were in that big rain event - we had a lot of rain days on the project.
“A lot of the sound issues were challenging. It was not typical construction. We all learned a lot.”
Designing extremely quiet mechanical systems also provided some challenges.
“They had to be very quiet systems with low air flow,” Gentry says. “Installing large ducts in very confined spaces in the ceilings was really, really tight.”
Gentry said that although there was lots of input from many people at the weekly meetings due to all the entities involved, everybody got along great.
“Dykema was just fantastic to work with,” he said. “John and Biby and Josh are very cordial and easy to get along with. WKMC Architects [coordinating architect for Del Mar] was there to make sure we did things right and they did. Del Mar was very easy to work with as well. Don Dunlop is a very nice guy. Everybody involved was very nice to work with.”
Gentry said Teal Construction also helped philanthropically by donating labor and materials throughout the project.
Teal Construction, based in Houston with offices in Corpus Christi does both private and public work. The firm does all commercial with schools, auto dealerships, design-build, fire stations, libraries and a small amount of industrial. –cw
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