Pioneer’s Permian Basin Headquarters Frost Bank Regional Headquarters
Interview with an Intern
Project in Progress
St. John’s School, Campus Center Project
Culture and Community
Sarah Sarnelli, Project Manager
Project Profile - New Construction Pioneer’s Permian Basin Headquarters Midland, Texas
The booming oil and gas industry in Midland, Texas, has sparked a surge in companies building offices in this West Texas hot spot. Pioneer Natural Resources Company has a long history in the Midland oil fields and has been the area’s most active driller for many years. Boasting a strong, experienced workforce, Pioneer continues to exceed their drilling goals and, as a result, has long been the largest employer in Midland among upstream oil and gas companies. So, what does all this success mean? Growth. Pioneer was outgrowing their office space in the downtown Bank of America building and knew they needed to act fast to accommodate their growing population. When Pioneer discussed the idea of renovating an older building versus building a new one, company executives agreed that their employees would get a better building by starting from scratch. Pioneer had its employees in mind from the beginning when deciding on a location. Before making land negotiations, Pioneer consulted with its employees. They ultimately chose a site that is central and close to many of the employees’ homes in the Claydesta area of Midland. The project began in 2012 and is one of the first new office building to be constructed in Midland in 30 years. This new 265,000-SF building is a six-story, structural steel-framed office building with a basement and is connected to a three-story, 168,000-SF, precast concrete parking garage via an air-conditioned walkway. The exterior walls are clad with granite panels over rigid insulation, an air and moisture barrier, gypsum sheathing, and metal studs with fiberglass batt insulation. Aluminum and glass curtain and window wall assemblies enclose exterior wall assemblies. Due to the dedication and hard work of the Bellows team and its subcontractors, Pioneer was able to occupy their building 12 months after the building permit was issued by the City of Midland.
Approximately 210,000 square feet of the total square footage is dedicated to general office space. The central core contains mechanical rooms, restrooms, elevators, and fire stairs. The basement houses a computing area and a large, state-of-the-art fitness center complete with weights, cardio equipment, yoga, Pilates, locker rooms, showers, and restrooms. Pioneer has a reputation of taking care of its employees which is why it’s no surprise that the building includes an on-site childcare center with exterior playground and a courtyard at level one. Now, the employees’ small children are only an elevator ride away. Pioneer’s awareness of sustainability extends not only to their surrounding community but also to their employees’ workplace environment. This building is seeking LEED certification, with special attention given to sustainable water use practices, in a region where water is sparse. The exterior, high-performance envelope increases energy efficiency while the use of recycled and regional materials reduces the carbon footprint. This project is a significant step for the city of Midland since 10 to 15 years ago the thought of a new office building wasn’t on anyone’s radar. In the mid-1990s, the combined value of all downtown Midland’s office buildings was about $90 million, with no company seeking to make a major investment in a new office building. This kind of investment by Pioneer is a great sign of progress for Midland and for the oil and gas industry.
Bellows Byline | Winter 2014
Project Profile - Interior Buildout
Frost Bank Regional Headquarters, BLVD Place, Phase II Houston, Texas
Texas-based Frost Bank has been serving our great state since 1868 so it’s only fitting that they would play an active, important role in Houston. After years of being based in Downtown Houston, with some insurance and other division offices in other locations, Frost Bank has consolidated the majority of its Houston headquarter offices into one, new regional headquarters at BLVD Place, Phase II on the corner of Post Oak and San Felipe. Their 50,847-SF headquarters anchors the office portion of this luxury, mixed-use complex, with Whole Foods anchoring the retail portion. In addition, Frost relocated its Post Oak Financial Center on the first level of the building. The second level houses a training center, and the third and fourth levels of the building have private offices on the exterior with large workstations on the interior, and include board rooms and conference areas. The design aesthetic of the interior is clean and modern with limestone wall cladding from Israel, systems and ancillary furniture by Herman Miller, and a tone-on-tone finish palette with marble and architectural woodwork accents. The office space boasts floor-to-ceiling glass windows which allow natural light to permeate the space, stimulating a healthy and productive workplace while also reducing energy consumption. These sleek design elements cohesively align with the upscale environment of the BLVD Place complex and create a pleasant experience for employees and patrons. This first project in which Bellows teamed up with architect STG Design and our client, Frost Bank, quickly grew into a wonderful working relationship. Brent Miller, Bellows Project Executive, said “working with the construction teams from Frost, STG Design, and Wulfe & Co. was a great experience. We collectively resolved any issues and the relationship was so dynamic, at times, it felt like I was the client.” The team’s ability to stay on schedule while overcoming unforeseen challenges did not go unnoticed.
Frost Vice President Marvin Wallace commented, “In late 2013 Bellows began an aggressive schedule for this location. A dedicated and knowledgeable team composed of a seasoned project executive, a tested superintendent, and an ambitious intern was able to successfully complete the project despite numerous obstacles.” Both Miller’s and Wallace’s statements prove that the success of a project is largely dependent on strong team relationships. This move to BLVD place signifies Frost Bank’s strong commitment to maintaining their significant presence in the Houston market. For six generations, Frost Bank has helped Texas businesses and families prosper and this new move brings more opportunity for them to continue serving our city.
with an Intern
Alexandra joined Bellows in October 2013 as an intern on the Frost Bank project. Admittedly, and understandably so, there were some first-project jitters, but after coming on board and meeting the team, she knew she was right where she belonged.
Working with Frost Bank was the perfect match for my first project. The communication was professional and open and my project manager and superintendent were always there to give guidance and answer all my questions — and I had a lot! The entire process was a first for me. I did everything from write my first RFI to presenting to the client. I was always treated as part of the team and knew they had confidence in me. I looked forward to the weekly project meetings and enjoyed interacting with Frost. I took pride in making sure the client was happy and I looked forward to satisfying all of their requests. After comparing notes with my fellow classmates, I realized my experience was unique. I was given a wide range of opportunity, a high level of responsibility, and the tools necessary for success. Before my internship, I knew Bellows had a great reputation, and now that my first project is in the books, I know why and I am very grateful. Quite simply, Bellows is the best! Alexandra Flores, University of Houston, Construction Management, December 2014
Bellows Byline | Winter 2014
St. John’s School, Campus Center Project Houston, Texas
October 10, 2014
St. John’s School, an independent 13-year, co-educational day school, has “instilled in its students intellectual enthusiasm, leadership, and an appreciation of discovery” since its founding in 1946. With the campus center expansion, the school hopes to “unite the best of St. John’s — its mission, values, sense of place, and community — into one defining space.” Replacing the 40+ year-old Winston Hall, the campus center project will serve as the hub of academic and social activity for the school. Led by W. S. Bellows Vice Presidents David Morris and Ray Mancias, the project began in April 2014 and is scheduled to be ready for the Fall 2015 semester. The 70,000-SF undertaking includes a handsome Great Hall dining and meeting space, café, admissions offices, fine arts instructional space, 45 underground parking spaces, and a new Great Lawn which will be 50% larger than the current Senior Quad. The project will significantly improve the fine arts curriculum by doubling the square footage of the current arts facilities to 5,000 SF. The Great Lawn creates an additional 22,000 SF of green space where students can interact and enjoy each other. The St. John’s campus center project is also designed to achieve LEED certification, showing the school’s commitment to preserving the environment. W. S. Bellows Construction has a long partnership with St. John’s School in developing their campus. Projects include the restoration of the original Farish Hall, The Lower School, a complete modernization of all technology and mechanical systems for the North Campus and Upper School, renovation of 68,000 SF of existing classroom space, and construction of two new classroom buildings totaling 75,000 SF.
September 15, 2014
Headmaster Mark Desjardins expertly summarizes the importance of this latest project: “In short, this expansion project will connect an invigorated student body with the broader St. John’s community, meeting a need that we have experienced for many years.” Bellows is honored to build this significant project and to continue delivering facilities needed to further St. John’s exemplary mission and goals.
Bellows Family Culture On average, Americans work 40 to 50 hours a week, but anyone in the construction industry knows that number is more like 60 to 70 hours. One might think that it is almost impossible to find time for anything else. Here at Bellows, we make time, because we are a family of employees who care about and support each other. Our employees are known for their hard work, expertise, and positive attitudes, but also for their ability to let loose and have fun. That’s part of being a family. We kick off each year with the annual Bellows Bowling Bash in February. Whether you’re a King Pin or a Gutter Ball King, the fun is infectious. At the end of the night, three lucky participants walk away with the Gutter Ball, Best Cheerleader, and High Roller awards. An added bonus is the sight of your coworkers in bowling shoes. The next big event is the Associated General Contractors of America, Houston Chapter’s BBQ Cook-off which is held every March at the Sam Houston Race Park. Bellows sponsors a tent complete with a theme, tons of food, and fun. Since it is our 100th anniversary this year, the theme was a no-brainer – Bellows’ Birthday Bash! This shindig always has an extra dose of fun because it includes a family day where employees and their families come together and catch up. Besides, who can resist tasty ribs, brisket, chicken, salsa and crawfish prepared by our in-house expert Bellows Cook Team?
The annual MS 150 bike race benefitting the National Multiple Sclerosis Society is another event that unites our employees with our clients. Bellows is the only company that has sponsored the Texas Children’s Hospital MS 150 team since the team’s founding in 2005. Bellows employees continue to join our TCH teammates on this special annual journey from Houston to Austin. We are always inspired by our team’s charitable spirit, unwavering dedication to the cause, and ability to look fashionable in spandex biker shorts.
Other annual office events include the spirited College Colors Day, our highly competitive Fantasy Football League complete with draft and award parties, the spooky Halloween hat contest, and our festive holiday ornament exchange and Christmas tree decorating parties. From trash talking your coworker (all in good fun) at the Fantasy Football draft party to getting crafty with Christmas tree décor, the Bellows office doesn’t fall short on opportunities for fun. We always say that we have the best people in the business and, as you can see, it’s not just for their professional savvy.
Bellows Byline | Winter 2014
W. S. Bellows Construction Corporation P.O. Box 2132 | Houston, TX 77252-2132 713.680.2132 | 713.680.2614 www.wsbellows.com
Sarah Sarnelli joined the Bellows team as a Project Engineer in June 2006 and is now the most senior female Project Manager on staff. After spending 9 years as an architect, she decided it was time to transition her career to construction after working alongside Bellows on the River Oaks Baptist School project. I knew Bellows was a company that would always do the right thing for all the right reasons. I could work for no one else. Switching to the construction industry has afforded me the opportunity to work on a variety of interesting projects, the majority of which have been with the Bellows Medical Center Renovation Team. I worked heavily at Texas Children’s Hospital, most notably the Pavilion for Women project. I’m currently the Project Manager for the Alley Theatre renovation project. Originally constructed by Bellows in 1968, the Alley Theatre is complex and diverse. At first, the building seems difficult to understand until you spend time walking it and exploring all of its nooks and crannies. Add to this the intricacies of coordinating and building a theatre and you have something I love — a challenge! The demolition in the theatre was extensive and potentially daunting for the Alley personnel but with the strong, trusting relationship we have cultivated, they continue to be thrilled with the progress. They love to tour the building and there are moments where I expect the staff to be shocked or sad, but they have been amazed and excited the entire time. The Alley Theatre is a Houston landmark and the fact that Bellows gets the opportunity to work on it again 46 years later is quite special and I’m happy to be right in the middle of it. Sarah Sarnelli, Project Manager