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Mid State Transforms Historic Depot with $14.2M Job

Mon September 16, 2002 - Southeast Edition
Maybelle G. Cagle

A $14.2-million construction project in downtown Jackson, MS, is turning a historical railroad depot into a state-of-the-art transportation center.

The project dubbed the City of Jackson Multimodal Transportation Center is retaining aspects of the depot’s colorful history. Work began on April 4 and is scheduled to be completed by next spring.

Mid State, a Jackson-based construction company, submitted the winning bid for the project. The company is constructing two projects simultaneously in the transportation center. The Union Station project is about 50-percent complete while the Jatran (city’s transportation carrier) Transfer Station Project is about 80-percent complete.

Amtrak, Greyhound, Jatran and a rural carrier provider for Hinds County, where Jackson is located, will be major tenants. Together, the project equals a city block.

“There will be space provided for transportation-related shops and restaurants,” said Heyward Bell, an architect, who is acting head of the city’s Buildings and Grounds Department.

Bell said the Union Station project is an historical renovation as well as a construction project. “Most of the building was constructed in 1920. However, the ’shed house’ or baggage area dates back to the late 1800s,” he added.

While construction has been underway, the train station has remained open, which has been a challenge, said Mickey Lane, project manager, Mid State.

He added, “Passengers are loaded on and off the train at 11:15 a.m. and at 5:30 p.m. every day. They must come through a secure area of the building to do this.”

The project involves several unusual aspects including the roof, the building’s interior and the site work, according to Lane.

In keeping with the original design, the roof of the building is actually under the railroad tracks, which allows the train to run over the roof.

“The interior of the building has existing terrazzo wall panels installed in 1924, which are to be restored and reinstalled for a future dining area. Sitework has uncovered many concrete structures including one that was a 12-ft. deep basement. It had to be excavated and removed from the site,” said Lane.

He called the project “challenging,” because of its historical aspects. The Mississippi Department of Archives and History has been involved in the project. Most of its involvement, according to Lane, was with original designs from the owner, the city of Jackson, and the architect, Dale and Associates, a Jackson firm.

Lane noted that the project is one of the largest that his 44-year-old company has completed. The company, which is owned by William S. Ware and P.G. Bernheim, does commercial, industrial, institutional and design build.

“We specialize in historical renovation projects and design-build commercial projects,” he added.

Some completed historical-related projects by Mid State include the Madison Courthouse, which was built in 1840; the State Capitol; the original Greyhound Bus Station; GM&O Depot; and Millsaps Bouie House.

Because the depot project involves a historical structure, construction crews have to selectively demolish the building. “This means you remove certain walls, doors, windows, etc. while leaving historic items in place,” said Lane.

He explained the company’s philosophy is “to provide honest value to our clients and the opportunity for long-term growth of Mid State and its people.”

Approximately 70 to 80 people have been working at the site. Normal work hours are from 6:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The railroad track work involves removing eight tracks from Amite Street to Capitol Street, which cross over the roof of the building, installing a new rubber membrane roof system, reinstalling rail lines back over the roof and installing new concrete pavers on platforms No. 2, No. 3 and No. 4. “This is the portion of the project, which involves working seven days a week and long hours,” Lane said.

He added, “Additional work on the track level involves installing new steel canopies, new concrete and tile boarding the platform, new fencing and handrails, new skylights and rebuilding the stair and freight elevator structures on the track level.”

Frequent rain has cost the project delays of at least 35 days. To make up for the rain, Mid State is working more crews longer hours.

A variety of heavy equipment including a crane, lifts, pump trucks, trackhoes, backhoes and dozers are being used on the project. Mid State leases, rents and owns its equipment. Specific equipment being used includes a Cat D6 bulldozer and a Cat 610 trackhoe.

Several heavy cranes were used for structural steel work and to put up canopies. They include a 75-ton (68 t) American crane with 160 ft. (49 m) of boom and a 70-ton (63.5 t) Lorrain 670 with 150 ft. (46 m) of boom.

Approximately 50 subcontractors are involved with the project. They include N.L. Carson of Carthage, MS, which is doing site demolition, earthwork and grading; RCP storm piping, curb and gutter, sidewalks and concrete paving; MAC Construction of Jackson, which is doing building demolition; Joe Gustavis Masonry, which is doing masonry, brick and cast iron stone work; McPhail Construction, which is installing structural steel and metal decking; Waterproofing Systems Inc., which is doing the concrete, masonry, steel and wood restoration, caulking and sealants; Independent Roofing, which is doing new clay tile roofing; D&T Terrazzo of New Orleans, LA, which is doing the terrazzo restoration of the walls, stairs and floor; Intrepid Enterprise of Harvey, LA, which is doing the painting and drywall finishing; Craft Croswell Contract Furnishings, which is doing all new flooring systems, including porcelain tile, rubber flooring, VCT, carpet and wood; J.L. Roberts, which is doing the complete mechanical systems; and McInnis Electric, which is completing electrical systems.

Bell said there are other related projects, in the planning stages that are being constructed which will support the station job.

They include a secure parking lot across the street from the site and reconstruction of five Mill Street underpasses to add to the character of the Union Station, as well as a track level waterproofing project.

The Mill Street underpass project is still in the design stages and a bid date has not been published. “Mid State Construction will likely bid on this project,” said Lane.

A related project being done by Mid State is reconfiguring an intersection at Mill and Capitol streets, directly adjacent to the project. It was scheduled to begin Aug. 1 and will take six weeks to complete. Bell said the city began planning the project in 1995 with the intention to remove a blighted building from the west end of town.

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