Page 143 - South Mississippi Living - October, 2021
P. 143

 Port of Gulfport Marine Research Center.
 “The Marine Research Center serves as the principal marine operations and support facility for the University of Southern Mississippi’s oceanographic research efforts,” McDaniel said. “The facility’s unique design will serve to enhance the industrial 'front door' of the Port. The building is pile supported with cast-in-place concrete columns and stair towers.”
One of the intricacies was the foundation which was a deep structural concrete foundation requiring full time dewatering due to the depths of these foundations that were actually below the water table. He says another intricate challenge of constructing this facility was the exterior ACM (Aluminum Composite Material) panels.
“The materials could not be preordered due to the manufacturer requiring actual field measurements prior to fabrication as these panels have virtually no tolerance for fitting,” he added. “To achieve our completion date, it was determined to ship the raw materials to the site for fabrication. This eliminated the shop fabrication process, delivery to the site, and improved the schedule for the installation of the panels by four weeks.”
The Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College Immersive Media Performing Arts Center (iMPAC) is a three story, 61,500-square-foot performing arts building that is available to students and the general public and is built to Broadway specifications with 1,200 seats of unobstructed views.
“Obviously working on an active college campus required careful coordination and planning with all employees and subcontractors onsite to ensure there were no interferences with the school’s operations or student activities,” McDaniel said. “Additionally, we were in the height of the pandemic which consistently decreased subcontractor manpower, slowed progress, and cost a great deal of money as we would have to
go through and decontaminate the building after every positive COVID exposure.”
McDaniel explains that there are numerous new construction techniques being used in today’s market such as 3D Building Information Modeling, Laser Scanning, Robotic Total Stations, Mobile Apps, Drones, Robots, 3D Models, and Automated Construction Equipment. “With these new technologies we are able to build stronger, taller, and much more energy efficient structures. Technology has made construction safer and workers much more efficient. We are doing more with less as our productivity has increased due to these advancements in technologies.”
He adds that buildings on the Mississippi Gulf Coast are now being constructed to better withstand hurricane and tropical storm flooding by adhering to established elevations and structurally designed foundations to minimize the impact to structures from the rising waters, wave actions, velocity forces, and debris in the water.
“Also, designs are following the International Building Code which established the mandate for design criteria to withstand 140-mile-per-hour winds in areas prone to hurricanes. There are numerous code requirements that are established to provide guidelines for buildings to help offset the hurricanes that frequent the Gulf Coast. These are borne from tried-and-true experiences and will most surely be updated following future storms.”
Projects the company is currently working on locally include the Ocean Enterprise Facility at the Port, the West Harrison Middle School, the new Bayou Bluff Tennis Club clubhouse, the new tram bridge over Highway 90 tying Jones Park and the Aquarium together, and the new Wharton-Smith Gulf Coast Division Office to be located in the Gulfport Intraplex.
MGCCC (iMPAC) Auditorium.
 Port of Gulfport Marine Research Center.

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