> PROFILE BY SUSAN CASEY
CALL IT THE FUTURE OF HEALTHCARE for North Dakotans today and generations to come. Call it the largest publicly
funded building project in the history of North Dakota. If you
do, you’re right on both counts.
The University of North Dakota (UND) in Grand Forks has
educated more than 40 percent of the state’s doctors. Construction of the new $124 million School of Medicine and Health
Sciences building, which began in 2013 and was completed this
fall, is set to expand that scope.
“The project came about because the state of North
Dakota realized they had an insufficient number of physi-
cians and other healthcare professionals to take care of both
the current population—which includes an increasing aging
population—and the projected growth in population,” said
Randy Eken, associate dean for administration and finance,
UND. “As a result, the legislature committed to educating addi-
tional healthcare workforce students with the belief that there
would be a higher probability that those trained at UND would
stay in the state. The legislature realized as well that it wasn’t a
goal that could be achieved at the existing facility.”
The 325,000-square-foot building will house all of the
School of Medicine’s departments in a single structure and
allow an increase of its medical school enrollment by 64 stu-
dents, its health sciences enrollment by 90 students, and
post-graduate residency enrollment by 51 residents. At the
center are “Main Streets” under an atrium on the first and
second floors where students and faculty travel between study
and lounge spaces; classrooms; research laboratories; a digital
library; a simulated operating room; and simulated exam rooms.
It’s a design intended to encourage a collaborative atmosphere.
Prescribing the team
JLG Architects, Grand Forks, partnered with global firms
Perkins+Will and Steinberg Architects to design the building
and collaborated with PCL Construction and Community Con-
tractors (CC), the companies chosen by the UND, to provide
construction manager-at-risk services for the project.
When PCL asked Premier Electrical Corp. of Minneapolis
to bid the project, Premier Electrical contacted Rick Electric,
Inc., in Moorhead, Minn., on the North Dakota border.
“We were 350 miles away,” said Jim Harmon, senior proj-
ect manager, Premier Electrical. “We approached Rick Electric
since we had worked with them previously and decided to
do it as a joint venture, to interview together, and work as
contractor/subcontractor, dividing parts of the project.”
“We split it up with clean divisions of work by specific sec-
tions, plan sheets; agreed on the division of work; and put our
bids together,” said Greg Rick, president, Rick Electric, Inc.
Premier Electrical was responsible for the switchgear, feeders, branch circuits, power panels and power branch wiring.
Rick Electric handled the high-voltage underground to the
building and access control, lighting systems, security cameras
and fire alarm.
Since the project had a fixed budget of $124 million from
the state of North Dakota, construction manager-at-risk was
chosen as the delivery method, with the construction manager
committed to delivering the project within a guaranteed maximum price. PCL and CC were brought on board at the same
time as the architects, which allowed for all parties to be on the
same page in terms of constructability.
“Having a construction manager on board allows for more
cost certainty than a traditional approach, where someone
would design it, contractors would bid it and then build
it,” said Brad Hendrickson, construction manager, PCL. “It
allowed us to work with the designer and the owner at the
same time as the design was being completed and to progress the design, which took 18 months. When we had the final
design and a guaranteed maximum price, the state had the
Premier Electrical Corp., Rick Electric Inc. and the UND School of Medicine
Doctor Ordered Just What the