Despite the harsh weather of the past three months — numerous snowstorms and colder than normal temperatures which kept the snow from melting — several major Madras construction projects are nearing completion.
Daimler Trucks North America's new $18.7 million office facility and test track at the Madras airport, started in May 2016, will likely be finished next month.
"We'll be substantially complete in mid-April, but it will take a while to get everything moved in," said Kaz Kawamoto, construction manager for property and building management for Daimler Trucks. "They've been getting a lot of work done in the last two weeks."
Kirby Nagelhout Construction Co. is building the 32,000-square-foot office facility and shop on 87 acres of airport property leased from the city of Madras. The project will also include a truck testing facility, durability track, fueling station, truck wash bay, test sheds, truck parking and outdoor use area.
Todd McIntyre, project manager for Kirby Nagelhout Construction, said that when the heavy snow started, they didn't have the roofing on the building, "So we took about a five-week hit."
"It was right when we were starting to install the roofing that the snow hit, and the majority of the work activity in the building needs to be in the dry," he said. "That put us in the position where have to work overtime and weekend shifts to regain the schedule. There's a hard date on this project that cannot be missed."
Inside the facility, plasterboard has been hung and workers are in the process of painting this week.
"Basically, we're down to finish work, installing ceilings, floor coverings, case work (cabinets and counters)," he said.
Outside, just west of the office, the test track is complete and operable, aside from the striping and the caulking of the construction joints.
The ground has finally thawed, so the contractor is beginning to work on grading in preparation for asphalt and concrete adjacent to the building. "The exterior stuff is still somewhat weather-dependent," he said. "We got a lot done last week."
Freightliner trucks, which have been produced and marketed by Daimler since 1981, have been tested at the airport since the mid-1970s. The project represents a major expansion of the city's relationship with Daimler, which is relocating its test engineering operation from South Bend, Indiana, to Madras.
The company, which will employ around 30 people at the facility, plans to have its grand opening sometime in mid- to late May.
St. Charles Madras
Another project with a similar community investment — the $16 million St. Charles Madras addition and renovation — got underway with a groundbreaking in August 2015, and is expected to be completed in late 2017.
The first phase included design, permitting, groundwork, underground utilities and moving the maintenance building.
According to Tim Finkle, senior project manager for St. Charles Health System, the contractor, the Neenan Co., is working on phase 2 — the emergency department, operating rooms, and imaging expansion in 26,000 square feet of new space.
So far, he said, all wallboard is up; all areas have received a first coat of paint and many areas are ready for final coat; the ceiling grid and tile is being installed; and flooring installation has begun.
"Electrical and plumbing work is underway with great progress," he said, adding equipment is already being delivered and installed.
The third phase of the project will include construction of a two-story galleria — the main entrance, greeting area and central registration point on the east side of the building; the move of the laboratory from a mobile unit outside into the building; and parking lot and grounds work.
"Galleria work is underway," said Finkle. "Deconstruction and new construction of this area is underway."
Plans for a water line for fire suppression have been approved by the city of Madras.
"Construction has begun bringing the new and improved water line for fire hydrants and hospital sprinkler lines to the building," he added.
The hospital will remain a 25-bed critical access hospital, but will expand from 56,168 square feet on the main floor to about 82,168, plus another 6,920 square feet for the galleria, which will connect the hospital to the adjacent St. Charles Family Clinic.
At the north end of the Palisades Shopping Center on South Highway 97, the new 17,800-square-foot Grocery Outlet fell behind on its construction schedule during the record-setting snowfalls from December through January.
"The weather kind of screwed my schedule up for about three weeks," said Matt Dickerhoof, of Dickerhoof Construction of Bend, recalling the heavy snowfall before the roof was finished. "I shoveled that roof twice, so the next sunny day we could get the roof membrane on."
"The trusses and pandecking was on and nailed off and ready for the roofing material, but then we got a ton of snow on it," said Dickerhoof, who has built seven other Grocery Outlets around the state, including the ones in Prineville and La Pine. "We lost about three weeks in the process."
On Monday, James Bultena, the project manager for Dickerhoof, said that they are in the process of finishing the plumbing and electrical work, polishing the concrete floors, and painting walls. Grocery Outlet has begun installing refrigeration.
Last week, the stucco work was completed on the facade, which also features brick and block, but the stucco needs to be sealed when the weather cooperates.
"We're moving along now," said Bultena, who anticipates having the project finished within a month. "We're slowly catching up."
Marc Drasin, vice president of real estate for Grocery Outlet, said that the $2 million project is tentatively scheduled to open April 13, subject to change based on weather.
"We are very excited about opening a local store in Madras," said Drasin, noting that the store will be hiring 30-40 full- and part-time employees.
The 70-year-old company has more than 270 stores on the West Coast, Idaho and Pennsylvania, with annual sales of nearly $2 billion, he said.
"We have a lot of organic and specialty products, gluten free, wine and craft beers — all about 50 percent off regular price," said Drasin, adding, "It's not a warehouse store."
Madras Physical Therapy
The new Madras Physical Therapy building on the northeast corner of McTaggart Road and J Street is about two months from completion.
"We've got to be out of our current building by the end of May," said Trevor Groves, who owns the business with Rob Nelson.
During the heavy snows, Groves said they had some problems that slowed their progress for a short time.
"Our contractors (Mike Warren Construction and Leon Petz) did a good job getting there in a timely manner and getting the roof shoveled," he said. "It wasn't as bad as other people experienced."
The interior of the 3,556-square-foot facility has been painted, but the contractors are still working on the trim and wood laminate flooring in the lobby area. The gym area features a rubber surface made from recycled tires.
"There's a large, expansive gym area, and four private treatment rooms next to the gym," said Groves, noting that there will be five therapists and three office staff employed at the facility.
The work remaining includes painting the exterior, working on the site, parking lot, sidewalks and curbs, streetlights, and stormwater improvements.
"We're feeling good about it," he said.
In October, KEITH Manufacturing Co., which has been located at the Madras Industrial Site for the past 53 years, broke ground on a new office facility.
The two-story, 12,454-square-foot office building will be located on Northwest Adler Street, and replace six modular buildings that have been added over the years to serve the world headquarters for the international business, started by the late Keith Foster. Foster's son, Mark Foster, is the president of the family-owned company which has offices in The Netherlands, Canada and Mexico, and salespeople and distributors around the world.
"We are finalizing the permitting process and scheduled to start construction in the coming weeks," said Laura Crocker, media director for KEITH Manufacturing. "At this time, completion is scheduled for late fall 2017."
R&H Construction is in charge of the project.