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Demolition Prescribed for BlueCross Site

Wed August 16, 2006 - Southeast Edition
Maybelle G. Cagle



Environmental Abatement Inc. of Hendersonville, TN, completed demolition 45 days ahead of schedule on the 362-unit Cameron Hill apartment complex in Chattanooga, which will make way for BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee’s new corporate campus.

Cameron Hill is a significant geographical feature in downtown Chattanooga with a history dating back to before the Civil War. The hill is named for Scottish artist James Cameron, who moved to America in 1833. He was given land on the hill named after him because of his work and donations of landscape paintings to the city.

Dan Jacobson, vice president properties and corporate services of BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, said the project went extraordinarily fast.

“Their efficient means of both conducting the demolition and the hauling contributed to the early completion,” he said.

According to Jacobson, the scope of work for site preparation has not yet been announced by the company. “It includes clearing and grubbing, cut and fill of the site, grading, road work and also utilities work,” Jacobson said.

He said the contract for the site work is expected to be awarded in September with a groundbreaking to follow. Heavy equipment should be coming to the site early in September to begin work.

The new campus will include 950,000 sq. ft. of buildings and a 4,100 space parking facility to accommodate BlueCross workers now working in 10 buildings across Chattanooga. The complex will cost approximately $299 million with an estimated completion date in 2009.

Four of the proposed office buildings will have five floors with approximately 200,000 sq. ft. each. Employees and daily operations will be located in those buildings. The fifth building, located on the west side of Cameron Hill, will include a large dining facility and training and conference rooms.

Features of the complex include a wellness center for employees; a health institute, which will function as a think-tank or research center for health care related applications; and public spaces with vistas of downtown and the river.

Demolition began April 10.

“There was not much challenge as far as the project scope. However, we never underestimate daily challenges such as safety, schedule requirements or our clients’ best interest,” said Joe Carver, owner of Environmental Abatement.

He added, “We truly enjoyed working for BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee. They were always responsive and kind, which made them very easy to work with. That always makes for a good project.”

Carver said his firm used excavators with large grapples to demolish the structures and separate them for proper disposal and recycling.

“The separation process consisted of recyclable material such as metals and clean reusable concrete from unusable landfill material such as wood and other debris,” he said.

The material was sent to local businesses such as Phillips Metals, Commercial Metals. City Disposal Services took care of the landfill materials and Santeck in Bradley County also took a share of the material, according to Carver.

Machinery used in the demolition process was a Volvo 330BLC and 290BLC. The track loader was a Caterpillar 963 and Bobcat skid steers also were used. Trucking was provided by Shelton Construction Co.

“The number of people used in the on site demolition process was six plus the truck drivers, which varied from six to 10 additional people,” Carver said.

The new campus has three main contractors, which comprise a construction management team. As the overall construction managers, they did not bid on the demolition scope of the work.

In addition, The Staubach Company, a national real estate consulting firm from Dallas, will oversee the overall aspects of the project including costs and completion.

The construction management team consists of Skanska USA Building Inc. in Atlanta and Nashville, EMJ Corporation in Chattanooga, and H.J. Russell & Company in Atlanta.

Skanska will operate as managing partner of the overall Cameron Hill project.

EMJ will lead the construction management responsibilities focusing on site work and parking facilities, while Russell will support both firms in all project aspects.

“The team of Skanska/EMJ/Russell was selected based on its ability to help BlueCross meet its overall project goals for cost and quality while at the same time demonstrating an ability to help us meet our important goals for local and minority participation,” said Bob Worthington, BlueCross senior vice president. CEG