EF Education First, which has its North American headquarters in Cambridge’s burgeoning North Point neighborhood, is expanding with a new multi-use building that will include 292 dorm rooms and apartments with 500 beds. It will be the campus’ first housing for students. The project broke ground in October 2017 and is expected to be completed in time for the fall 2019 academic semester.
College and university work is a focal market for TG Gallagher, a GBPCA contractor that is designing and constructing the plumbing as well as the HVAC and fire protection systems for the 300,000-square-foot, 12-story building. Unlike a more traditional dorm, the building will include office and administrative spaces, a student cafeteria, a fitness center featuring a 30-foot rock climbing wall, and an above-grade parking garage. Located adjacent to North Point Park, the project will also offer two acres of green space, a sports track, a multi-use field, and other amenities that will be made available to the public.
According to Chris Evers, TG Gallagher’s project executive, the system design for the multi-purpose facility presented some challenges. For example, the residential area on the upper seven floors uses a Sovent plumbing system, while a conventional plumbing system serves the rest of the building. “This created a coordination obstacle on the floors where these two systems tie in together,” Evers says.
Across the entire building, there will be 302 bathrooms with 1,275 fixtures in total. The project is being designed to LEED Gold Standards and will include a rainwater reclamation system that will clean and filter the water for site irrigation and cooling tower make-up water. At the peak of the project, TG Gallagher’s crew totaled 80 tradespeople.
“We worked as a member of the design team to add value to the project while minimizing costs,” notes Evers. “The project team was able to utilize a complete BIM model, unify workflow, perform constructability and maintenance reviews, and capitalize on prefabrication opportunities.”
TG Gallagher operates a 40,000-square-foot fabrication facility. The shop is preassembling much of the plumbing and mechanical piping as well as equipment for the job, including pump skids, bathroom groups, kitchen waste stacks and runouts, and underground water piping. Prefabrication will account for 30% of the project’s total work hours.
The company was part of the crew that helped construct a 10-story building on EF’s Cambridge campus that opened in 2014. “Our previous success working with EF set the table for this project,” says Brian Potter, TG Gallagher’s President. “Everything clicked, the collaboration and communication was exceptional, and the entire team delivered a project they could be proud of and the community could enjoy for decades.”