Commercial - Corporate Commercial
University of South Alabama Mentor Graphics Office Building
The University of South Alabama selected Doster Construction Company to provide construction management/design-build services for a new office building on their Mobile campus. The new facility serves as the offices of Mentor Graphics Corporation, a software and technology company with 34 offices in 16 states and 40 offices in other countries. The project is the first building of Phase I of the USA Research and Technology Park. The three-story, 80,000 square feet of class "A" office space also includes some speculative office area on the first floor. The building consists of a concrete frame clad with an architectural pre-cast concrete panel exterior and punch windows and 60,000 square feet of finished interior offices and common areas. The $9.3 million project was completed in 2003.
As the first building for the new Research Park, all parties involved wanted to make a quality statement that would serve as the benchmark for the future development of the property. This ideal was complicated by the proximity of the project to the Gulf of Mexico and the need to maintain the budget. To achieve the intended purpose, the design team incorporated several elements into the exterior skin to enhance its attractiveness and uniqueness. The primary elements of architectural pre-cast concrete and glass were mixed with metal panels to create an appealing and functional exterior wall that could withstand the high wind code requirements and provide the owner and tenant with a low maintenance building.
One of the primary goals in the building design was to include a gathering place on each floor that would encourage the interaction of the tenant employees. The designers used the junction of the two wings and included a central stair to create this space. After the design was completed, the challenge became the installation of the various elements. The steel handrail patterns were mirrored at the elevator doors and accented with plastic laminate paneling, aluminum tube framing and transparent acrylic panels were used to separate the space and direct the flow of traffic and yet maintain a feeling of openness that took full advantage of the exterior windows for views and natural lighting. The space included the employee lounge with a television and also the reference library. All the main conference rooms were located at the junction areas, which further enhanced the interaction of the employees. Obviously, the installation of these elements and the first impression they conveyed became a matter of pride with all the craftsmen installing this work and the result was one that all are proud to have been involved in building.
Including the design of this project under the direction of the Construction Manager helped to insure the delivery of the desired building within the specified timeframe. Careful planning, expedited design review meetings, and 16 prime bid packages for the various scopes required to complete this building insured the delivery of a true fast track project.
This project was the recipient of an Associated Builders and Contractors Alabama Chapter Merit Award in 2003.