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Heavy Iron Rolling for USF Bayboro Campus Projects

Tue September 27, 2005 - Southeast Edition
Bonnie L. Quick

Like the rest of downtown St. Petersburg, the University of South Florida, Bayboro Campus, located on Tampa Bay, is booming.

USF St. Petersburg broke ground on May 4, for the newest addition to the campus. Construction crews are busily working on the first phase of the $14-million Parking Center One, which will offer more than 1,100 parking places and include a two story Barnes & Nobel bookstore. The facility is set for completion by summer of 2006.

Chancellor of USF, St. Petersburg, Karen A. White, said at the opening ceremony: “Today’s ceremony is symbolic of the great community interest and support for campus expansion in St. Petersburg. Parking Center One’s location creates an important gateway, designed to fill the needs of the student population and our surrounding downtown community.”

The seven-level, six–story-parking garage will be located at the corner of Fifth Avenue and Third Street South.

The facility will be completed in two phases. Weeks before construction began, the crews were readying the ground using pumps to empty the retaining pond that had been there for years. First the area had to be dried out so preparation and subsurface testing could prove the location suitable to support the planned structure. Dirt was hauled in to fill the hole left by the dredging of the pond and the job of strengthening the site began.

The foundation is auger-bored, a low-noise and vibration system that is highly versatile and suitable for a wide range of ground conditions, like the sandy soil of Florida. A pile auger connected to a Link-Belt crane drills into the earth and creates a hole into which grout, slightly less viscous than cement, is injected, all in one operation.

The foundation of the parking garage will be supported by 344 of these auger cast pilings. On top of the castings, pile caps are placed to help stabilize them. To finish off the shallow foundation work, concrete mixed with an aggregate material of specified size is poured over the piling system.

In this case, according to John Dickson, associate director of facilities and planning for USF at Bayboro, “We typically use 4,00 psi aggregate material” to ensure strength and durability. “Sometimes we use early high strength concrete but on this site the 4,000 psi is our choice,” continued Dickson.

Utilities will be installed after the foundation is completed through portals created in the stem walls. Openings will be poured into foundation and the lines and cables will be passed through in place.

New Residence Hall

Earlier this year on March 20, ground was broken for Residence Hall One. The $18.3-million housing facility also is set for completion in summer 2006.

“Today’s ceremony is about the beginning of the campus of 2020. USF St. Petersburg students in the year 2020 will continue to enjoy a close knit student friendly campus where they can focus on their studies,” White said at the groundbreaking.

Crews are on site using a vibra-displacement piling system that calls for 299 pilings as the support system for the 126,000-sq-ft. residence hall. The displacement tool is mounted at the bottom of a drill rod pushed into the ground as concrete is simultaneously pumped through the hollow stem as it is withdrawn. Full displacement of the soil keeps the working area free of drill spoil on site.

Effective soil displacement increases load carrying capacity of the pile. As sections of the foundation are completed the walls and floors are added, as the work continues on the other foundation sections.

“Before we’re through, we’ll have at least 50 pieces of equipment on these sites; dozers, augers, cranes, front end loaders, Bobcats … you name it. We are pleased with the progress. In every project there are bumps along the way, but so far we have avoided any bad situations,” said Dickson. “For instance, the weather has been perfect. And, even though we are offering nothing, no incentive program for finishing early, crews are working hard to complete this project.”

The housing facility will offer 95 apartments that could house 345 students within its seven stories. The apartments will be four person apartments with double bedrooms, four person apartments with private bedrooms and two person double apartments.

Community Impact

The parking garage will benefit the students living in residence halls, commuters and downtown residents and business owners as they exit I-75. In addition to the Barnes and Noble College Booksellers, the first floor will house the USF St. Petersburg Police Department and Parking Services.

The project is led by Orlando-based Finfrock Construction Inc. CEG

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