850-Acre Project to Feature NTCC Campus
The various projects are expected to have a major economic impact in the region.
📅 Wed January 20, 2016 - Southeast Edition
Cindy Riley - CEG CORRESPONDENT
Richard C Lambert Consultants LLC photo
Tamanend’s master-planned community will have 182 homes on estate lots for sale, along with more than 600 single-family homes on smaller lots, 148 garden homes, more than 100 townhomes and 210 leased apartments.
In Louisiana's St. Tammany Parish, work is underway on an 850-acre mixed-use development that will feature a new $10 million campus for Northshore Technical Community College (NTCC), along with a new emergency operations center and a commercial/residential development in Lacombe off Highway 434. The various projects are expected to have a major economic impact in the region.
“Tamanend will be home to over 1,300 families, in addition to a town center, business park and educational campus currently under construction by the parish,” said Scott Gilbert, project manager, Weyerhaeuser Real Estate Development Company (WREDCO). “This will allow residents the convenience of living, learning, working and playing in one place.
“We envision the town center becoming a central location for retail opportunities in the parish, and with the incorporation of the business park and educational campus, we believe that Tamanend will provide significant economic impacts to the region, in terms of both employment and educational opportunities.”
Tamanend is being overseen by WREDCO, a subsidiary of one of the largest timberland owners in the world. WREDCO, which operates in 10 states across the South and the Pacific Northwest, donated 53 acres for the college campus construction.
Tamanend's master-planned community will have 182 homes on estate lots for sale, along with more than 600 single-family homes on smaller lots, 148 garden homes, more than 100 townhomes and 210 leased apartments. In addition, there will be a retail and commercial section. Tamanend is within a 15-minute drive to Mandeville, Slidell and Covington, La.
WREDCO is working with Gulf States Real Estate Services in Covington, La., which is providing project management, marketing and real estate consulting for the development.
“Tamanend is master planned community in the very epicenter of St. Tammany Parish, as evidenced by the Parish Emergency Preparedness Center and the Northshore Community College locating there,” said Gulf States Real Estate Services realtor Terry Blackwell. “It's located on what we are calling the ‘new commute' — the I-12 corridor that connects the Mississippi Gulf Coast and Baton Rouge. There will be strict covenants and restrictions. Those that go in early will be assured of the project being developed as set forth in the plans and that property values will be protected.
“Regarding the commercial section, those lots are available now,” Blackwell said. “The water well that will supply the recently completed water tower is being drilled as we speak. Naturally, the retail sector follows the residential growth, and we are in discussions with a number of subdivision developers to get that process started.”
Gulf States is marketing the large development tracts to subdevelopers, who will provide the apartments, town homes, residential building sites and retail town center. Brokerage of a 120-acre business park also will be a primary focus.
Stratum Engineering performed the geotechnical investigation for the Tamanend mixed-use development, and was responsible for the construction materials testing and inspection phase of the project infrastructure. Byron E. Talbot Contractor Inc. is focusing on site work tied to the 434 development.
“Our scope of work includes clearing and grubbing, excavation and embankment, storm drainage, sanitary sewer, water distribution system, base work and concrete paving,” said Byron E. Talbot, company president. “We began clearing and grubbing in June of 2014, and are approximately 80 percent complete with the work that we have been awarded.
“We are currently installing the sanitary sewer lift station wet wells, which are 96 to 120-inch diameter reinforced concrete wet wells approximately 16 feet deep, and pressure testing our water and sewer force mains for acceptance. We are also preparing to make the final paving tie-ins at LA 434, and give the site a final clean up before de-mobilizing.”
Clearing and grubbing of approximately 100 acres of right-of-ways drainage servitudes has already been completed, along with excavation of linear detention ponds and roadway embankment and storm drainage.
“The main challenges on this site have been dealing with both storm water and groundwater,” said Talbot. “The storm water is mainly a problem during the winter and spring, due to frequent rain. The near surface soils on this site are fairly silty and very moisture sensitive, so it takes several days to recover from a rain event while processing dirt. If it normally takes two or three days to recover and it rains every two or three days, it's difficult to maintain production.
“Groundwater is another issue. Anything deeper than about four to five feet is underlain by pockets of fine sand with groundwater. As with all sites, groundwater can be managed if it is planned for, prior to deep excavations.
Water distribution lines are almost finished. The 16-in. (40.6 cm) main lines are fairly large for a water system in the area, but the work was straightforward. One of the key tasks yet to be carried out involves final tie-ins of Legends Boulevard and Tamanend Way to LA 434.
Talbot said a variety of heavy machinery is being used on the project.
“Currently, we are setting the sewer wet wells with a Cat 345, being assisted by a Komatsu 210. We are using a 16-ft. (4.8 m) Square Slide Rail Shoring System to safely excavate for these structures, which are the deepest things to be installed underground on site.
Most of the main earthmoving on site was done with 25 to 30-ton articulating dump trucks of various makes and tri-axle road trucks when conditions have allowed.
“We have had many excavators on site, but notably dug most of the ponds with a Cat 336 and performed a lot of ancillary tasks with 15 to 20-ton excavators of various makes. Most of our site grading was done with our Cat D6K dozers with Trimble GPS machine control assisted grading.”
Talbot said, “Most of our soils are coming from on site excavation, but considering the nature of the on site materials, we have used Quicklime and Portland cement for drying and stabilization of these soils. All of the drainage structures on site are precast reinforced concrete. There's also PVC utility pipe and ready mixed concrete.”
A 30,000 sq. ft. Science,Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) campus will serve as the main campus of the college, which serves more than 5,000 students annually. The new STEM building, the first phase in the construction of the NTCC headquarters, will be completed in Spring 2016.
The design includes a Center of Innovation, outdoor classrooms, biology and chemistry labs, a simulation room and a SMART room. The layout was guided by stakeholder engagement with multiple industry partners, and will serve the maritime, advanced manufacturing, health sciences and information technology industries.
In 2013, the Louisiana House of Representatives approved the Senate Bill 204 (Act 360), a statewide initiative created to improve Louisiana's Community and Technical College facilities. The legislation provides increased training capacity and opportunities for students, business and industry in both rural and urban areas across the state. Specifically, the bill authorizes financing and construction of 29 projects in the amount of $250 million.
In April 2015 , officials and educators gathered for a groundbreaking ceremony, using gold-painted shovels to mark the beginning of construction for the new NTCC headquarters Joe May, president, Louisiana Community and Technical College System, said the state's community and technical colleges are among the fastest growing two-year colleges in the nation, and with good reason.
“Today, most middle-class jobs require more than a high school diploma, but less than a bachelor's degree. These jobs include service technicians, welders and pipe fitters. Act 360 will allow community and technical colleges to modernize facilities and provide the training necessary for our graduates to gain access to not only good jobs, but also some of the best jobs in the state.
Dr. William Wainwright, NTCC chancellor said, “Recognized by the Brooking's Institute for top economic value of graduates, as a well as recent recognition by Community College Week as a top certificate producer among our nation's community colleges, Northshore Technical Community College provides the key workforce development solution for the greater northshore region of southeast Louisiana. The construction of the state of the art STEM campus in Lacombe will serve as an economic development anchor for the region, offering innovative education and workforce development pathways leading to high demand jobs in today's economy.”
Wainwright said the new campus is long overdue.
“The National Center for Higher Education Management Systems conducted a study in 2011 focused on the needs of the rapidly expanding northshore region of southeast Louisiana. The study found that existing efforts by higher education providers were fragmented and did not provided opportunities for residents to enroll and complete high demand high wage training programs on the northshore. The study recommended expanded facility infrastructure and as a result, the NTCC STEM Campus emerged as part of a Legislative Act 360 bond package to meed the current and future needs of the region.”
According to Wainwright, Lacombe is an ideal setting for the new campus.
“Often referred to as the ‘Heart of St. Tammany,' Lacombe, Louisiana provides a central location and a hub of future population growth essential to the long-term vision of the college and collaborative stakeholders, such as industry and St. Tammany Parish Government.”
The STEM campus will be followed by a 23,000 sq. ft. (2,136.7 sq m) Advanced Technology Center. A future 30,000 sq. ft. (2,787 sq m) facility addition is designed in the final footprint of the development, as part of a capitol campaign strategy for future consideration.
Officials believe the project can help improve the reputation of community colleges, which sometimes get overlooked by prospective students.
“Northshore Technical Community College is proud to be considered the workforce training solution for the Northshore,” said Wainwright. “Heavy engagement with key industry partners and stakeholders such as our public education provider, various non-profits, our regional University partner, and parish government have resulted in recent recognition of NTCC as Innovator of the Year by St. Tammany Economic Development and State Exemplar Award for the State of Louisiana by ACT.”
In 2005, Hurricane Katrina wreaked havoc on the original college campus, which operated in Slidell. Wainwright said a decade after the storm's damaging floods, NTCC and the community are committed to moving forward.
“NTCC and St. Tammany Parish have emerged resilient 10 years post Katrina. Leadership by our parish president, coupled with multiple partnering agencies, has culminated in a strategic vision and implementation of innovative initiatives leading to long-term sustainability of the parish and region.”
The campus also will be the home of the parish government's emergency operations, other institutions of higher learning and possibly other governmental agencies.
A key event in the parish's transformation from a bedroom community to a more independent economic area occurred seven years ago, with the relocation of Chevron's regional corporate headquarters to an office park outside Covington.
For Pat Brister, St. Tammany parish president, the current mixed-use project brings together many forces working for a common goal as they look to the future.
“The St. Tammany Advanced Campus is a collaborative endeavor between Parish, state, federal and local government entities, as well as private partners. The site, located in the center of St. Tammany Parish, will soon be transformed into a premier multi-use campus, involving the coordination of many disciplines including educational, environmental, engineering, design and construction, beginning with the construction of the NTCC.”
Parish officials broke ground on the campus in March 2015. The St. Tammany Advanced Campus was originally conceived in 2006 and the Louisiana State Senate Concurrent Resolution in support of the Center was passed in 2008. WREDCO donated land in June of 2009 for the development. Since the donation, Parish has provided master planning of the site in partnership with Weyerhaeuser.
“The St. Tammany Advanced Campus is an exciting project for our community,” Brister said. “Its central location will serve as an anchor for all citizens of our community who wish to utilize the educational facilities housed here. As the employment needs of our business community grow and change, the Northshore Technical Community College will be able to provide relevant workforce education and training in key industries, placing St. Tammany in a strategic position to meet the needs of employers seeking skilled workers.
“The relocation of our emergency operations will house our essential personnel and other agencies under one roof during a Parish-wide emergency event,” said Brister. “This new multi-use facility will house the St. Tammany Parish Government Emergency Operations Center, 911 operations and a community safe room designed to provide near-absolute life-safety protection for first responders and necessary emergency personnel.
Said Brister, “The multi-use facility will have the capacity to house our emergency response team in a central, safe location in times of emergency and natural disasters. The location of the Advanced Campus will allow us to quickly mobilize a response to reach all areas of the Parish. Having a facility of this capacity will add to the overall resiliency of St. Tammany Parish and will play a central role to our pre and post-storm management.
“Following Hurricane Isaac in 2012, St. Tammany Parish Government received $5.3 million in HUD community development block grant disaster recovery funds which was used to provide infrastructure at the site. Phase I infrastructure work began in March of this year, and included site clearing, construction of two roadways and a roundabout and a drainage canal along the eastern side of Highway 434. The construction of the water tower that will feed the community is complete.”
The name “Tamanend” comes from Chief Tamanend of the Lenni Lenape Nation, a tribe in Pennsylvania. Described as a benevolent tribe, its purpose was to live in harmony with neighbors and the environment. For Gilbert, the project is about providing for an all-encompassing lifestyle.
“This is going to be a beautiful place. Years of planning have gone into Tamanend. We couldn't be more excited to see this new community begin to take shape in St. Tammany Parish.”
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