A $9-million, multi-phase construction project to expand Pennridge High School is under way in Perkasie, PA.
General contractor J.A. Taddei, of King of Prussia, PA, is confident in the success of the three-year project due to the company’s highly organized planning and coordination, the training and knowledge of its employees and its long-time relationship with equipment dealer, Furnival Machinery Company, of Hatfield, PA.
J.A. Taddei purchased two Moxy 36T trucks from Furnival in December 2002 specifically for the Pennridge project. The trucks are being used to haul material back and forth at the 100-acre (40.5 ha) site and the sale is the most recent in a 10-year relationship between the two companies.
“[We were] able to grow because of [Furnival]. They were able to help me with a lot of purchases,” said John Taddei, president of J.A. Taddei. “They’re an important part of our team.”
Taddei also singled out Barry Tally, salesperson, and Wayne Donahue, regional manager, both of Furnival Machinery — along with the dealer’s special programs — as the keys that helped the company acquire its equipment over the years, including a PC300, PC220 and PC400 excavators that are being used on the Pennridge expansion project.
Currently, the project is in phase 1 and 2, scheduled to last until August 2004. The school district is building a 200,000-sq.-ft. (18,581 sq m) addition to consolidate what was once an upper house and lower house into one facility. School officials proposed to have students in the new structure by September 2004, calling upon the contractor’s skills before work even began.
“One of biggest challenges of getting the project off the ground was the coordination — meeting with the architects, construction managers and the school district, and understanding their concerns,” said Taddei. “There are so many people affected on this project that it was important to brainstorm in the beginning and everyone was on board.”
As work began, temporary facilities were needed to accommodate the construction, including a temporary, 8,000-sq.-yd. (6,689 sq m) parking lot for teachers and a temporary road for buses.
The primary construction, however, is dominated by extensive utility work, such as the relocation of 3 mi. (4.8 km) of storm drainage, water and sanitary pipe and the construction of four retention basins, again requiring a large amount of planning.
“It’s not just something you go into. You have to spend the time to plan ahead before you can proceed,” said Taddei.
Along with the utility work, Taddei also is responsible for the bulk work and paving on the project, including 80,000 cu. yds. (61,164 cu m) of rock excavation; 150,000 cu. yds. (114,683 cu m) of bulk excavation and haul off; and processing 140,000 tons (126,000 t) of rock.
“[We are] converting the rock that we encounter at the job and actually making stone out of it to use in the parking lots, under the building and in our stone backfill,” said Taddei.
A Caterpillar D155AX dozer is doing all the ripping on the project, while a Caterpillar 963C dozer aids the pipe crew, and a Caterpillar D7R dozer and Link-Belt 4300 track hoe are being utilized for bulk out and fine grade for bulk work.
To process the rock, Taddei uses a crusher/screener combo of BL-Pegson 426 Trakpactor rock crusher and Powerscreen screener to make, “an improved pep-out material that will later be used in the parking lots, in the building and in the pipe,” said Taddei.
The crushing/screening work mirrors the process at Taddei’s sister company, Environmental Recycling Corporation, a recycling center in King of Prussia, PA. The facility manager, Leo Martin, runs a combination BL-Pegson impactor and Extec power screener at the 10-acre (4 ha) site, which was opened approximately a year ago.
Phase 3 of the project calls for another 40,000-sq.-ft. (3,716 sq m) addition and is the smallest of phases.
The fourth and final phase involves ripping down the lower house, a 150,000-sq.- ft. (13,935 sq m) multilevel brick building, and constructing a 30,000-sq.-yd. (25,084 sq m) parking lot. Taddei will lay approximately 65,000 sq. yds. (54,348 sq m) of new paving throughout the project.
Hall Explosives, of Hershey, PA, is responsible for the blasting work and Mets Engineers, of Lansdale, PA, is the project’s surveyor and plan designer.
Taddei has approximately 50 employees and 60 pieces of large earthmoving equipment.
For the Pennridge project, three crews of 20 workers are running at all times.
Just a few of the important members of the Taddei team include Jeffrey Weise, project estimator; William Reynolds, site superintendent; and Albert Everitt, lead operator, who has been with Taddei since its beginnings 10 years ago.
“This company as a whole, we take a lot of pride in what we do,” said Taddei. “We stress quality and the reason why we get so much repeat business from owners, architects and engineers is because of how we train our employees.
“We train them to do the work once and do it right and stress the quality. We invest back into our employees with certification programs, special training. Our employees are our biggest asset, by far,” added Taddei.
This training includes machinery programs, apprenticeship programs and an OSHA certification program. The company also employs a full-time safety coordinator and full-time quality control manager.
“[It’s] all part of that equation of making sure that employees are in that safe condition. A formula of everyone working together so that a project of this caliber will be successful,” said Taddei. “The architects and engineers see that and it generates repeat business, and that’s how we’ve built the business from day one.”
Taddei is no stranger to school development projects, including Eagleville Elementary School, which was similar to what the company is doing at Pennridge. “Definitely,” said Taddei. “Eagleville was very similar to this where we actually had to demolish a building once the other building was in.”
The company also is no stranger to jobs that require the contractor to be unobtrusive. At this time last year, Taddei was working in the middle of the active Reading Hospital Center.
The construction of a four-story parking garage required the rerouting of sewer/water pipes that ran into operating rooms that could not be interrupted. “[That was a] very intense job with tight conditions,” said Taddei.
J.A. Taddei has approximately 10 projects going on at one time and does roughly 60 percent private and 40 percent public projects, including park improvements and wetland relocation. In fact, Taddei is entering the second phase of a 20-acre (8 ha) wetlands creation at Black Rock Preserves in Phoenixville, PA.