Total Project Collaboration

Rutland Armed Forces Reserve Center
Rutland, Vermont

The Armed Forces Reserve Center in Rutland, Vermont, was authorized as part of the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Act, which called for the consolidation of numerous facilities across the country into state-of-the-art, energy-efficient, functional training centers for military men and women. The Rutland AFRC was initially advertised as a design-build project opportunity in April 2009; however, due to environmental factors, the proposed site was determined not to be feasible, forcing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Louisville District, along with their consultant, to relocate the project to an alternative locale nearby. As a result, the project was re-advertised in December 2009 with a highly constrained project schedule, reduced from the original intended 630 calendar days to the awarded 410 days. 

Schedule Constraints

From the outset, the project’s revised schedule posed a significant challenge; the only way to extend it involved congressional intervention. Knowing this, prior to submitting our proposal, SMMA and our design-build partner carefully considered whether the schedule was, in fact, feasible. To ensure that, if awarded the commission, we could make the client’s deadline, the design-build team commenced designing upon submission of our proposal. This proved to be a crucial—not to mention, ambitious—decision.

Once awarded the job, we had less than 18 months to design and construct the AFRC, as well as complete state and local permitting. Adding to the challenge was the rigorous review process inherent to projects of this type, coupled with the sheer number of players involved—the design-build team, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Army Reserve, Vermont National Guard, and Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff for Installation Management. The only way to ensure a successful outcome was to work together—complete, transparent collaboration.

Development of Proposed Schedule

SMMA kicked the project off in our main conference room, our white board ready to go. The construction, design, permitting, and standard review schedules, and the requirements of each, we soon realized the amount of overlap involved in meeting our overall deadline.

To simplify things, we created what we thought would be an internal, hand-drawn, working schedule inclusive of all pertinent requirements and milestones, which we anticipated using quickly as a guideline for how to organize ourselves and prioritize work. Little did we know, this hand-drawn schedule would become a vitally important document upon which we would rely throughout the project to track our progress.

Facility Availability

Our ability to plan and execute this project in a highly constrained, highly collaborative manner allowed the design-build team to deliver the facility at a critical time for the State of Vermont.

The day before project turnover, Hurricane Irene devastated the area around Rutland, resulting in the arrival of National Guardsmen from around the country, to assist in clean-up efforts. More than 200 Guardsmen called the Rutland facility home while they worked tirelessly to provide aid to Vermont residents.

Performance Evaluation Highlights:
When Tropical Storm Irene hit Vermont on 28 August 2011, the Rutland AFRC was ready to do its part. Within 5 days of transfer to the customer the facility housed over 200 National Guardsmen from around the country, with their many construction vehicles, to assist in the recovery of Vermont from Irene’s damage.

This was the most successful project the Geographic District Resident Engineer has been involved with in over 30 years of administering construction projects for the government.