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Facility Construction Helps Add Jobs NOW

Fri September 07, 2012 - West Edition
Mary Reed

With five to 25 employees working on the job for the new facility, the company fielded Caterpillar 966, 14 and 140 graders, Caterpillar 623 paddle wheel scrapers, Caterpillar 330 excavators, and a Caterpillar 573 compactor as well as John Deere 710 backho
With five to 25 employees working on the job for the new facility, the company fielded Caterpillar 966, 14 and 140 graders, Caterpillar 623 paddle wheel scrapers, Caterpillar 330 excavators, and a Caterpillar 573 compactor as well as John Deere 710 backho

Nicknamed The City of Promise, Sparks, Nev., looks forward to the promise of more jobs when the NOW Foods facility currently under construction becomes fully operational next year.

NOW Foods had been operating a distribution facility in the city for eight years when its latest plant was announced in 2011, a time the state’s jobless rate was approaching 13 percent. The new facility will handle manufacture and distribution of the company’s nutritional supplements, personal care, health food, and other products.

The contract for the Washoe County design/build project was awarded to Reno, Nev., based United Construction Company.

Describing the facility as “a significant investment in the community,” Craig A. Willcut, president and CEO of United Construction Company, went on to say that “This project delivery method is based on trust and collaboration between all team members. By being open and honest with each other and by being willing to share all information on the project, a design/build delivery method can deliver projects faster and meet all team member expectations. It has also been found to be more cost-effective than the traditional design-bid-build project delivery method.”

The cGMP (Current Good Manufacturing Practices) incorporated into this project through the design/build process will allow NOW Foods to meet the cGMP‚s requirements. These include smooth wall (fiberglass reinforced panels) and ceiling (vinyl lay-in) assemblies along with resinous flooring (Stonehard), trench drains, and catch basins, which allows the facility to be easily cleaned to prevent contamination.

In addition, the complex HVAC system in the building allows NOW Foods to closely maintain the strict tolerances required for manufacture of their products, resulting in a consistent and high quality product for the public.

“The project has been submitted to the US Green Building Council for LEED Silver Certification,” Willcut stated. “Some of the key sustainability components of the project are high efficiency mechanical equipment, materials with low Volatile Building Council content, low water landscape design, skylights to provide natural lighting, and the use of photocells and motion detectors on light fixtures, which combined with the skylights has a positive impact on energy use.”

The plant also utilizes environmentally friendly features such as a rooftop photovoltaic (PV) power generation system that is expected to cover 2 percent of the plant’s annual needs.

Other green measures embodied in the design include:

• Sending over 80% of construction waste to recycling centers

• Provision of low water usage plumbing facilities

• Management of indoor air quality during construction

• Adoption of a green cleaning policy

• Use of local and recycled materials

The groundbreaking ceremony for the three-phase project was attended by Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval, as well as representatives from the City of Sparks, United Construction Company, and the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada (EDAWN), and other dignitaries.

“The first phase was for the site work and the 136,000 sq ft building with 85,000 sq. ft. for distribution, 6,000 sq. ft. of office space plus 5,000 sq. ft. for future office, and 40,000 sq. ft. for manufacturing. This work began June 2011 and was completed February 2012,” Willcut said. “In December 2011, NOW Foods requested the addition of a mezzanine for the future manufacturing space, which added 40,000 sq. ft. of manufacturing area. We are currently constructing the manufacturing improvements consisting of 80,000 sq. ft. requiring FDA standards.”

Sparks-based Atlas Contractors Inc., handled site preparation, structural excavation, aggregate base rock and asphalt paving, fine grading, drainage, sewer, and utilities work between August 2011 and January 2012.

With five to 25 employees working on the job, depending on the operation — grading, underground work, or paving — the company fielded Caterpillar 966, 14 and 140 graders, Caterpillar 623 paddle wheel scrapers, Caterpillar 330 excavators, and a Caterpillar 573 compactor as well as John Deere 710 backhoes and a Cedar Rapids asphalt paver.

“We specialize in this type of project and the work went very well,” Atlas Vice President and COO Jake Mahoney said, adding that “working with United Construction is always a very smooth and streamlined process.”

The NOW Foods plant involves more complex mechanical, electrical and structural components than may be found in other product types.

However, said Willcut, “There have been no significant problems encountered to date. All ’problems’ encountered we’re handled proactively with all team members. The collaboration on the project between NOW Foods, United Construction, Heitman Architects, Mike Sullivan, construction manager for the client and president of Peak Construction, and the design-build subcontractors — Jensen Electric, Ray Heating, Desert Fire, which provided fire sprinklers —allowed the project to be designed, permitted, and built in approximately nine months.”

The original date for completion of the manufacturing phase was 2014 but a significantly accelerated second phase brought completion about in March 2012. NOW Foods began recruiting for positions toward the end of the second quarter 2012, and when fully operational the plant will employ 100 manufacturing shift workers plus an as yet unannounced number in distribution.

About the Companies

Since its founding in 1978, United Construction has successfully completed numerous projects of similar scope and size to this one, including the approximately 460,000 sq ft Urban Outfitters Internet Fulfillment Center in Reno, Nev. Construction on this facility was finished in February 2012 and the center’s material handling equipment testing and commissioning are currently being completed. In addition, United Construction is constructing a light manufacturing facility in Napa, CA, with an expected completion date in November 2012, as well as several interior build out and renovation projects currently under way, including four for the Washoe County School District.

With the motto Where Honesty Meets Quality, Meets Innovation, Meets Your Schedule, family owned and operated Atlas Contractors, Inc., has been in business since 1978. With a work area covering northern Nevada and northern California, Atlas Contractors, a General Engineering Contractor, provides asphalt paving, earthwork, underground utilities, storm water systems and sewer in addition to subcontractor services in landscaping, concrete, sealing, striping, de-watering, and boring. The company is currently involved in projects located off I-80 at various exits between Reno, Nev., and Elko, Nev., as well as working on civil site improvements for a large retail store in Gardnerville, Nev., infrastructure for an industrial park in Carlin, Nev., and reconstruction of a large retail/commercial site parking area in Reno, Nev. Other ongoing projects include grading and paving for a large parking area for a homeowner’s association in Truckee, Calif., site work for an equipment rental company‚s facility in northern Nevada, and reconstruction of an underground sewer system in Truckee, Calif.

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