BYLINE SPRING 2017
South Main Baptist Church Renovation | Houston, Texas
A Trusted Partner - A Proven Team
South Main Baptist Church was founded in 1903 and moved to its current location at 4100 Main Street in 1918. At this time they built the Romanesque sanctuary building that still stands as South Main Baptist’s architectural landmark. With a church so rich in history and significant architecture, South Main’s current Pastor, Steve Wells, knew it would take a particular general contractor who would understand and respect the intricacies of this project and would take great care of their beloved facility. “W. S. Bellows has been our trusted partner for several projects which have been major projects for us. So when we decided to renovate and restore our 90-year old sanctuary building, there was never even a question of to whom we would entrust our most sacred space. From design to done, Bellows has been a partner we could trust. Down to the last subcontractor, Project Manager, Jose Garcia, Superintendent, Robby Beyer, and the Bellows crew led our project to tend God’s house. We are the stewards of a remarkably beautiful space – which meant finding artisans who could restore or fabricate new materials to maintain the aesthetic handed down for five generations here. Anytime you open walls in a 90-year old building, there will be surprises. Not only did Bellows solve each one with grace and wise counsel, they seemed to anticipate almost all of them. We could not be happier about their work or our partnership. The next major project here will surely be a Bellows build,” said Steve Wells. The Bellows team echoes the same respect and admiration. Pastor Steve Wells, Minister of Administration, Brad Jernberg, and South Main’s Project Manager, Susanna Kartye, were hands-on, available, proactive, and collaborated with our team from start to finish. Working alongside a client who treats you like family is a quality the Bellows team appreciates and resulted in a memorable experience.
Fresh Faith - Vintage Church
South Main’s “Fresh Faith. Vintage Church.” slogan is the perfect narrative for this entire project. Their community is progressive yet reverent and they wanted their facility to have that same disposition. The church hadn’t had a major renovation since the 1950s so in addition to bringing the entire facility up to code, there were some modernizations that needed to take place. South Main came to the table wanting to renovate and restore their space yet still preserve the traditional feel they have cultivated for 110 years. The sanctuary needed upgrades for HVAC, AV/lighting, acoustics, and seating. The Fellowship Hall, which is located below the sanctuary, needed to feel more inviting and offer expanded servery capabilities. As with any renovation, there are unknowns and challenges that need to be solved on site and Bellows, along with the entire team, made it happen. The first of the hurdles was abating the entire building. Before any of that could begin, a ‘dance floor’ that stood 40 feet high had to be erected throughout the entire Sanctuary so the team could reach the ceiling. The existing structure couldn’t support the raised dance floor so the team added temporary beams and post shores that extended down to the basement. After the dance floor was prepared, the team proceeded with the abatement process.
View of the dance floor from the balcony
Given the age of the church and the nature of the structure (wood framing with steel), all the existing plaster containing asbestos had to be removed and all the steel members were sprayed with fireproofing. The team then had to go back with fire-rated gypsum on Levels 1-3 in order to meet safety requirements. During abatement, an ironic nod to how far we’ve come regarding health and safety was discovered through old newspaper sheets found above the plaster ceiling that read: “Here they are. Beautiful, low-priced, rigid Asbestos shingles in these new color effects.” This definitely offered some comedic relief during the arduous task of removing plaster 40+ feet in the air. The existing ceiling plaster was also contributing to the acoustical issues the Sanctuary had been facing for many years. They weren’t getting the reverberation they desired to propagate sound through the entire church, so an acoustician was brought on board to determine what measures should be taken to alleviate the problem.
Bellows Byline | Spring 2017
South Main Baptist Church Renovation | Houston, Texas The recommendation was to change multiple finishes, notably the existing plaster ceiling. Forty percent of the plaster was removed and replaced with a Star Silent acoustic plaster system and two huge baffles were added in the balcony to reflect sound back to the congregation. New pews and white oak flooring were installed in the Sanctuary. They also extended the Chancel area to allow more space for their choir, upgraded their AV system, and added new theatrical lighting.
Gather and Serve
Moving to the underbelly of the structure, the Fellowship Hall also called for some much needed attention. The ceilings in this basement location were low and produced a space that felt confined, especially when the room was in use. Additionally, the kitchen wasn’t up to par with serving the Church’s growing community. The Bellows team knocked out perimeter walls revealing hidden windows, and reduced the size of the overhead mechanical equipment allowing them to raise the ceiling four feet. The additional windows bring in more light while the ceiling height makes the room feel more open. Focusing on the details, there were a couple existing columns that had beautiful crowns. Architect Bill Merriman hired a sculptor who took a mold and replicated the crown molding
for each of the remaining columns creating an elegant uniform look which is also in keeping with the room’s historic past. Finally, the entire Kitchen underwent major upgrades and was replaced with a new commercial-style layout. This entailed several weeks of concrete demolition, underground plumbing, and concrete replacement. No gas-powered demo equipment could be brought down to the basement because there wasn’t enough ventilation for the fumes. Wheelbarrows and shovels were used to excavate the area. The team installed new drain lines, vent lines, a grease trap with a 1200-gallon tank, industrial sinks, a new dishwashing facility, a walk-in cooler, a 16-foot fume hood, four stove tops, and a new servery area. The enlarged, lighter Fellowship Hall coupled with the modern upgrades to the kitchen have provided the Church with a beautiful, functional space in which to hold gatherings and catered events. The entire renovation is one that the Church had been waiting on for many years. All of the decisions for this remodel were based on renovating a building that will stand the test of time. Bellows was honored to work for such a deserving community and is proud to have successfully delivered a project that will be enjoyed for many years to come.
St. John’s School, Athletic Expansion and Parking Garage | Houston, Texas
Back to School
Since the 1940s, the Taub family of Houston owned 13 acres of land bordered by Buffalo Speedway, Westheimer, and West Alabama, leasing much of it to St. John’s School for parking and playing fields. For decades, St. John’s School had hopes of making this property a permanent addition to their campus since that would increase the campus footprint by 46%, a remarkable opportunity for an inner-city school. With the school’s desire to increase attendance, there was a strong demand to make a bold move. When the opportunity to purchase the 13 acres presented itself, the Board of Trustees took action and acquired the land as part of St. John’s Opportunity of a Lifetime strategic campaign. The land is now known as the Taub Campus. This acquisition delivered a number of benefits for the school, including the recently completed Athletic Complex Phase I and Shared Parking Garage. Separate from the Taub campus but also included in Bellows’ scope was the turfing of Finnegan Field which provides a state-of-the-art surface for the very popular and successful field hockey program. Bellows has been fortunate to have built several projects for St. John’s School, including the Flores Hall and Campus Center, so returning to the campus felt like a homecoming. St. John’s School has facilities to accommodate over 100 athletic teams in 23 different programs for boys and girls in Middle and Upper School but there was still a need to expand for the future. Phase I plans called for the creation of multipurpose practice fields on the Taub Campus and the relocation of the baseball field to the southwest corner of the property. The newly-constructed baseball field has a moveable fence allowing multipurpose use outside of baseball season. Bellows also added a new press box at the baseball field with a camera, new sound system, two synthetic turf bullpens, and batting cages. The Ligums Practice Facility is a 10,000-sf indoor batting cage and all-sport facility complete with five batting cage bays, locker rooms, and storage. This facility will be used during inclement weather for all kinds of sports. Also located on the property is the new, three-level parking garage that is shared with neighboring St. Luke’s United Methodist Church.
Bellows Byline | Spring 2017
St. John’s School, Athletic Expansion and Parking Garage | Houston, Texas Record amounts of rain at the beginning of this project caused some challenges for the team, especially when it came to constructing the turf for Finnegan Field. One of the unique features about this field is the elastic layer pad (E-Layer), not typical for most fields. E-layers are poured in-place pads and must be installed by a specialty contractor. They offer the most consistent surface planarity as well as safety for the players. The E-Layer must remain dry for 36 hours after installation which was tricky with last summer’s rainy season. Once installed, it was inspected and the Bellows team received a perfect score. Finnegan Field and the baseball field are both artificial turf and have drainage fields with detainage systems that tie into the City of Houston’s sanitary storm sewer line under West Alabama. However, during demolition, the team discovered a cavern that was created by a leak in the City’s water line under the street. The Bellows team had to repair the leak and meet City requirements before the City signed off on the tie-in. With Houston’s unpredictable weather, these drainage systems are vital for outdoor facilities and became a game changer. Houston experienced a huge rain storm on the day of St. John’s School’s first baseball game, but due to the drainage and artificial turf, they were still able to play, which wouldn’t have been possible on a regular grass field. Athletic Director Vince Arduini stated, “The new facility has expanded our opportunities to develop our students/athletes. The ability to conduct practices on our multi-purpose turf playing field and in the indoor facility, without limitations due to weather, provides tremendous benefit to our students/athletes.“ The Taub Campus and Finnegan Field provide space and opportunities for more students to participate in extracurricular activities which help them grow to be well-rounded, healthy individuals. This expansion was a positive move for the future of St. John’s School and the benefits will span generations. St. John’s School’s resolute commitment to their students proves that they are true trailblazers who continue to set the standards for their students’ education, athletics, and personal development.
Texas Children’s Hospital, Pediatric Tower E Expansion Topping Out Celebration | Houston, Texas
Laura Bellows with Texas Children’s team Jill Pearsall, Assistant Vice President of Facilities and Development, Pete Dawson, Sr. Vice President of Facilities Services, and Mark Mullarkey, Executive Vice President
On Thursday, February 9, Texas Children’s Hospital and W. S. Bellows Construction celebrated the topping out of Texas Children’s new Pediatric Tower in the Texas Medical Center. Nearly 700 guests that included project donors; patient families; Texas Children’s administration, Board of Trustees, and In-chief Physicians; project design team members; subcontractors; and the Bellows field crew were all on hand to commemorate the exciting construction milestone. Mark Wallace, Texas Children’s President and CEO gave a warm welcome and highlighted the impact of this expansion on patients, families, and the medical field as a whole. Laura Bellows, President and Chairman, expressed her gratitude to the entire project team and shared how honored we are to serve as the general contractor for this singular project.
Johanna McCoy, Project Manager Johanna McCoy joined Bellows in 2012 as a project engineer on the BLVD Place, Phase II project. She is now the project manager for the upcoming St. Agnes Performing Arts Complex slated to start in summer 2017. The way a thoughtful space can physically and emotionally impact people is what drew Johanna to a Construction Science degree at Texas A&M University. “I like knowing the invisible aspects - the design innovations that had to be thought up to satisfy a client’s needs or a new technique developed to make a design possible.” One of her most memorable projects was serving as project engineer on the St. John’s School Flores Hall and Campus Center Expansion project. The significance it holds for the school and the beauty of the entire project is something that left an imprint on Johanna. She even found herself returning to the campus as a project manager for the recently completed Athletic Expansion project. Johanna’s journey at Bellows has been full of wonderful memories including her first-ever “fun interview,” something you don’t experience very often. From that moment she knew she’d found the right company and would blend in well. The family-oriented environment is one of Johanna’s favorite things about working at Bellows. She’s continuously reminded that she’s a valued member of the team and enjoys spending time with her bosses and co-workers in and outside of work. She finds her job extremely rewarding because construction is a tangible industry. She can drive past a project she worked on and say, “I built that!” Going home every day knowing that she’s contributing to the landscape of Houston by providing spaces that enrich people’s lives, celebrate art, promote education, or provide sanctuary for animals brings her great pride and satisfaction. In her downtime she enjoys going on weekend adventures with her husband, being a foodie, trying her hand at a variety of craft projects (currently, calligraphy), and last but not least, getting in some quality playtime with her beloved dog, Jaffee.
Bellows Byline | Spring 2017
W. S. Bellows Construction Corporation P.O. Box 2132 | Houston, TX 77252-2132 713.680.2132 | www.wsbellows.com
Bellows Wins National AGC Grand Award for Safety Excellence Since joining Bellows in 1981, Vice President of Safety Tommy Lee’s mission has been the development, training, and promotion of a robust safety program with the ultimate goal of making sure every Bellows worker returns home safely every day. Tommy oversees and manages the Bellows safety program and is dedicated to the safety of our clients and personnel. He is acutely aware of the status of every Bellows project and reports any activity, big or small, to President Laura Bellows and Chief Operating Officer Tony Mansoorian. At Bellows, we lead by example. From our management team to the field, everyone is responsible for maintaining our excellent safety standards. Tommy champions safety training for every Bellows employee and works tirelessly to continuously improve upon our safety programs. He always says, “We should never be satisfied. We have to be proactive and diligent about always striving to be better.” This mindset and steadfast dedication is the reason Tommy served as Chairman of the Safety Committee for the National Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) from 2010 to 2014. He has also led Bellows in receiving the National AGC Excellence in Safety Award for 2011, 2014, and 2017. On March 8, 2017, out of 100+ AGC entrants nationwide in 21 categories of construction, Bellows was also selected to be “Best of the Best” in Construction Safety Excellence as the 2017 recipient of the Grand Award for Safety Excellence at the National Convention. Bellows is the only general contractor in Texas to receive the AGC Grand Award for Safety Excellence in the history of this awards program. Tommy’s professional passion is undoubtedly safety but his true joy lies in spending time with his family. He and his wife Sharon, an elementary school principal, take a family vacation each year with their older son, Zachary, his wife, Kathy, and their children, Dylan and Addison, and his younger son Jacob, his wife, Dee, and their daughters, Ava, Ella, Alyssa, and Evelyn. This year’s trip has yet to be determined but with the Lee crew, it’s bound to be an adventure. He’s also known to fire up the grill on weekends and have the family over for BBQ and a swim.