Innovative student precast housing: Rocker Square I

Rocker Square I is an industrial design, loft-style building that proudly displays the building materials that many try to conceal.

The design showcases neutral tones, exposed ceilings and stained concrete surfaces to give the building an unfinished feel—perfect for a college like the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology in Rapid City.

IMG_7269The six-story student apartment building was built in 2012 to accommodate rising enrollment and is owned by Technology Housing, LLC.

Instrumental in the construction of Rocker Square was Hani Shafai, President of Dream Design International, Inc. and a professional engineer/real estate developer living in Rapid City.

A Mines alumnus (’87), Shafai razed a block full of blight and quickly erected the privately-owned precast concrete structure for students.

Rocker Square I was a true alumni engagement project. Mines alumnus (’74) Jim Scull of Scull Construction was the general contractor, while Gage Brothers president Tom Kelley is a proud member of the School of Mines class of 1980.

Gage Brothers quickly manufactured more than 63,000-sq. ft. of precast concrete for a superior quality and highly efficient building at a cost that rivalled a comparable wood structure.

Rocker Square’s precast components include corefloor, beams & columns, load-bearing end walls and cladding panels.

IMG_4503The apartments were built in five months—in time for students to move-in at the start of the 2012 academic year.

“The precast concrete option allowed us to meet the very short time table for construction,” Shafai explained. “That was very impressive to all involved; the sound proofing and the energy efficiency of the structure made this construction method our choice for future similar projects.”

He added, “Gage Brothers and Scull Construction, and the rest of the project team did a great job meeting the budgets and the project schedule without sacrificing any of the project quality.”

“It was great to have a local developer team with local contractors and suppliers help a local state institution.”

The Rocker Square I apartments are home to 116 residents and primarily consist of 1,240-square-foot units with four single 10-foot-by-7-foot bedrooms and an 11-foot-by-7-foot living room. There are also a handful of two and three bedroom units. All of the apartment units are furnished and other features include a group study room, free laundry in each unit and easy access to an Einstein Bagels shop on the first floor.

Precast concrete housing structures provide superior resistance to wind damage, fire, earthquakes, decay, mold and mildew provides lower maintenance and insurance costs.

Termites also can’t eat concrete.

IMG_7268“This new dorm is practical and functional,” said Heather Wilson, president of the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology. “As a private-sector project which the University leases, it was designed for flexibility of use, including potential conversion to classrooms or offices.”

Building projects like Rocker Square I to house students are part of the institution’s long-term strategic plan to help the School of Mines become recognized as a pre-eminent technological university, a place that can attract and retain top-notch faculty and students while also benefiting the rest of the community.

A growing college campus can help revitalize a city and create lively pedestrian corridors where there were once downtrodden storefronts and aging neighborhoods.

“Rocker Square I also started the redevelopment of an aging downtown neighborhood on the edge of our campus, which continues with more public and private sector investment. It is a great example of transformative architecture that inspires others to move a city forward,” added President Wilson.

Precast concrete’s enduring materials and flexibility with a virtually limitless set of colors, textures and shapes make it the best choice for collegiate housing projects like Rocker Square I.

Shafai added, “We are very proud to be part of such a great project in the State of South Dakota.”

In the 2016-2017 academic year, Rocker Square I will be reserved for upperclass students—juniors, seniors and graduate students. Rocker Square I was followed by the construction of two more Gage Brothers projects—Rocker Square II (2013) and Placer Hall, which will open its doors this fall.

Rocker Square I
Additional Project Details

IMG_7262Features of Rocker Square I include:

  • 4-bedroom units include 2 full bathrooms
  • 3-bedroom and 2-bedroom units include 1 full bathroom
  • Free laundry in each unit
  • Wireless Internet Access
  • Cable television
  • Furnished living rooms with couch, loveseat, tables, and television
  • Furnished bedrooms with full-sized bed, dresser, desk/chair
  • Kitchen with full-sized refrigerator, microwave, and dishwasher plus bar seating

Innovative precast student housing: Jackrabbit Grove

Many colleges and universities across the country have a portfolio of aging residence halls that were constructed for the post-war generation. A place to sleep, a desk for studying, and a dining hall nearby was all that was expected when parents tearfully deposited their children at college to continue their preparation to adulthood. However, times have changed, and today’s college students have no interest in yesteryear’s modest dormitory-style living.

Institutions are asking questions about what their dormitories should be. For research-based universities like South Dakota State University, success in the dog-eat-dog fight for bright, driven students—and the research grants and tuition revenue that comes with them—depends on meeting or exceeding student expectations for on-campus housing.

Hyde Hall
Hyde Hall at Jackrabbit Grove

In 2012, SDSU sought to create a new housing experience that was appealing to potential students and also functioned as the setting for robust intellectual and character growth of the modern college student.

South Dakota’s only land-grant institution requires undergraduates to live on campus for their first two years after high school and in a significant shift in previous design processes, SDSU administrators looked to the student body for input on the design of the new buildings.

SDSU surveyed more than 1,500 students and their collective voice requested residential halls that were affordable, lively, state-of-the-art, and green. They proposed an environment that reflected the creativity of the institution and emboldened students to make lasting connections to people and ideas.

Students also wanted living quarters that were in close proximity to the services they used most; the student union, classrooms and the wellness center.

Ben Riefel Hall
Ben Riefel Hall at Jackrabbit Grove

The end result is Jackrabbit Grove, a four building, 800-bed residential community for SDSU underclassmen and Honors College students in Brookings, SD.  With furnished rooms, community gathering areas, kitchens, and laundry facilities, Jackrabbit Grove has quickly become one of the premiere housing options on the SDSU campus.

Jackrabbit Grove carefully integrated with existing housing and the University’s desire to create a modern housing experience. It was preceded by Jackrabbit Village, a 408-bed residential community that was completed in 2010. Gage Brothers Concrete was the precaster for both Jackrabbit Village and Jackrabbit Grove, while Koch Hazard was the architect of record for both projects.

Precast panel construction was utilized to accommodate a very aggressive construction schedule, while ensuring long-term durability and ease of maintenance. The use of precast concrete also reduced site disturbance, as fewer trucks and less time were required for construction which minimized traffic disturbance on the SDSU campus.

IMG_7081Thin-set brick was included in the panels to complement the surrounding campus architecture and obtain the aesthetic appeal desired by students.

Three separate precast designs teams were utilized concurrently to support two separate and concurrent erection crews which completed within 14 months—in time for students to move-in prior to the start of the 2013 fall semester.

The primary goal for Jackrabbit Grove was student comfort.“We’re after the student comfort factor because that translates into happiness with the living environment which translates into a connection to campus and of course ultimately produces student success connected with their academic efforts,” said Douglas Wermedal, SDSU Associate Vice President for Student Affairs.

IMG_1840
Construction of Jackrabbit Grove

Jackrabbit Grove reduces previous SDSU community sizes from 100 residents per floor to 36. The number of students sharing a community bathroom is reduced from 50 students to 18.

This vast reduction assists in community building, encouraging residents’ affinity for their space and interaction with other students on their floor.

“Students told us to get the floors smaller,” said Wermedal. He added that a community of 35 students was determined to be a comfortable number for the Upper Midwest student to connect with initially on campus.

Lounge areas on each floor connect with the large kitchen and include a fireplace and flat screen television.

And according to Wermedal, you have to pay attention to the convenience and the efficiency of the bathroom space in a house that students built. Individual locking units for toiletries have eliminated the need for a portable shower caddy and given each student their own personal space.

For this LEED Silver-certified project, sustainability was considered every step of the way, including daylighting and lighting controls, low flow fixtures, increased ventilation and a very high percentage of regional materials.

SDSU students also stressed the importance of hydration and a healthy lifestyle to school administrators. Every floor in Jackrabbit Grove is equipped with an H20 bottle filling station with a digital counter that shows how many plastic bottles have been kept out of landfills.

The project’s success is ultimately measured in students’ reactions, and Jackrabbit Grove is alive with activity just days into each semester of operation. The newest addition to SDSU campus has set a high standard for residential life projects moving forward.

Honors Hall
Honors Hall at Jackrabbit Grove

“A residence hall is an important building that provides a home away from home and will be the center of most of the cherished memories in a student’s academic career,” said Gage Brothers president Tom Kelley. “It was very energizing to be able to collaborate with the university and student stakeholders to complete such an important project on the SDSU campus.” Click here to view the Jackrabbit Grove photo gallery (c/o Cipher Imaging Architectural Photography).

New USF residence hall will provide community living and learning environment

As students return home for summer or scale back their course work, colleges and universities ramp up construction.

The University of Sioux Falls might lack most of its student population during the summer, but the campus is currently abuzz with activity thanks to the construction of a new residence hall—the first new dormitory in more than a decade.

USF RESIDENCE HALL BID PACKAGE #2-1
A rendering of the new residence hall (c/o Koch Hazard)

The plans call for a three-story residence hall that can house up to 188 students— making it the largest dormitory on campus. Gage Brothers was awarded the precast concrete building contract in late June and will manufacture more than 70,000 square feet of precast concrete for the project.

Gage Brothers is the top producer of precast concrete materials for residential halls in the Midwest. Recent collegiate projects include Placer Hall (SDSM&T), Jackrabbit Grove (SDSU) and the award-winning 17th Avenue Residence Hall (University of Minnesota).

The project addresses both USF’s commitment and the city of Sioux Falls’ desire to bring more students into campus housing. The residence hall is the latest in the university’s series of investments and redevelopment projects that USF has planned for the coming years.

Other than the newly-conceived project, the Sullivan Faith and Living Center (2005) was the most recent dorm constructed on the USF campus.

Construction of the new residence hall—the $11.7 million price tag includes additional parking— began on July 7 with the demolition of Patterson Hall on the corner of 22nd and Summit. Patterson was an iconic building in its time, but was in need of modern amenities the 40-year-old building could not accommodate. Safety at this intersection had also become a concern with limited sightlines and increased traffic in recent years.

The renovated corner will feature open spaces and landscaping designed to provide better sightlines and an overall better image for the liberal arts university.

To create space for the facility and accommodate increased parking, several university-owned houses will be removed.

USF took a unique approach to the building’s design. In order to best suit the needs of modern university life, they conducted conversations with both current and prospective students along with their analysis of critical trends in student residence life design.

“We integrated current best practices in the field of student development with the needs and desires of a contemporary college student, gathering ideas not just from current students but also prospective students and their families,” said Corey Ross, Vice President for Student Development and Dean of Students at USF.

Ross added that university officials sought to be flexible, functional and forward-thinking with the design because the needs of students and the institution can change throughout the years.

The residence hall will mirror USF’s other residence halls and buildings in many important ways. Students will be held to the same code of conduct in place in other similar campus housing spaces, and resident assistants will live on site.

The currently unnamed residential hall is being designed by Sioux Falls-based Koch Hazard Architects.

Honors Hall
Jackrabbit Grove

Gage Brothers has collaborated with Koch Hazard on more than 100 building projects since 1970. Recent jobs include the Jackrabbit Village and Jackrabbit Grove residential communities at SDSU and Vance Thompson Vision, a 2014 AIA South Dakota Design Honor Award winner.

The two firms are also working together on the new 10,000-sq. ft. Stockwell Engineers offices in Sioux Falls.

USF awarded the construction contract to Sioux Falls Construction, a firm that Gage Brothers has worked with for more than 50 years, giving the housing project very strong local ties.

“USF does its best to support local businesses, and we are blessed to have quality choices in this geographic area,” said Marsha Denniston, the school’s Vice President for Business & Finance.

The three-floor residence hall will feature: 94 rooms that contain two large (11’ X 20’) double rooms separated by a private bathroom. Other amenities include common areas and study spaces on each floor, multipurpose rooms and kitchen facilities, as well as a fitness room, laundry room and theater for the residents to share.

Added Ross, “Our interior is designed to be as stylish and as comfortable as a modern home, replete with bedrooms on the wings that encircle a ‘commons’ in the middle of every floor for students to gather, relax and share ideas.”

ResHall_004
Thin-brick cast in Gage Brothers precast concrete adorns the 17th Avenue residence hall at the University of Minnesota

The predominant structural design consists of thin-brick cast in quality Gage Brothers precast panels meant to complement the exterior of other buildings located on the academic quad, while providing a strong presence to the northeast corner of campus as approached from 22nd Street.

The precast structural components to be produced at the Gage Brothers plant are: 44,179 sq. ft. of corefloor, 24,485 sq. ft. of architectural panels and 2,114 sq. ft. of walls for the elevators and stairs.

Siting and design of the new hall will complete the historic USF campus quad and frames the view into campus from 23rd Street.

Drawing 5
Original drawing of the Sioux Falls College library (1964)

Students will also have fewer excuses for not studying since the residence hall will be attached to the Mears Library—making USF one of the few campuses in America where students are living in the same building as the university library.

Talk about living in the library during finals week.

Gage Brothers has a unique connection to this student housing project. The first campus building awarded to Gage Brothers was the Sioux Falls College (as it was called at the time) library in 1964.

A precast concrete ramp was added to the building in 1998.

Drawing 3
Original drawing of the Jeschke Fine Arts Center (1968)

“It’s always fun to dig up old drawings and to re-visit projects like the USF library—a building that is not only part of their history, but part of our company history as well,” said Gage Brothers president Tom Kelley. “This building contains some of the first architectural panels we ever made and they’ve definitely withstood the test of time.”

Other campus buildings that were constructed with Gage Brothers precast concrete products include: Jeschke Fine Arts Center (1968), Glidden Hall (2001), McDonald Center (2007) and the Salsbury Science Center (2008).

Gage Brothers also provided more than 16,000 square feet of tread & risers, architectural panels and trim for Bob Young Field at the USF Sports Complex.

Kelley added, “We’re excited to help make this corner of campus a showcase for the whole university and make it someplace special.”

The residence hall is projected to open in fall of 2017.

Gage Brothers hosts a successful FUN-raiser for Feeding South Dakota

13316810_1308574365823993_5753253394886054117_oIn celebration of the second annual Red Nose Day, Gage Brothers Concrete partnered with Feeding South Dakota for a FUN-raiser on Thursday, May 26.

Red Nose Day is a fundraising campaign run by Comic Relief, Inc., that aims to raise awareness and money for children and young people most in need, in the U.S. and around the world.

Gage Brothers felt that hosting a Red Nose Day fundraiser would be an easy way for people in Sioux Falls to donate and become engaged in the fight against hunger.

According to the USDA, one in seven Americans struggles with hunger.

For every person who stopped by the Gage Brothers office on May 26 and had their photo taken wearing a red nose, Gage Brothers donated one dollar to Feeding South Dakota.

“We are pleased to be working with Feeding South Dakota to support our mutual beliefs that no one in our community should go hungry,” said Gage Brothers president Tom Kelley. “We wanted to use Red Nose Day to help us raise awareness about the issue of hunger during a time in the year when donations to food banks have a tendency to dwindle.”

13268081_1308575219157241_3226842594563087784_o (2)More than 250 people dressed up in silly costumes and said “cheese” for a good cause. Mascots from the University of South Dakota, University of Sioux Falls, Sioux Falls Canaries and the Sioux Falls Skyforce were on hand to entertain the crowd and pose for photos.

Gage Brothers pledged one dollar for every photo and added an additional gift of $500.

Feeding South Dakota was presented with a check for $775, which will translate into more than 3,800 meals made available to those who need it most.

As the city’s hub for integrated food poverty assistance, Feeding South Dakota provides temporary food assistance to more than 190,000 hungry individuals and families in South Dakota on an annual basis. In addition, their BackPack Program gives food every weekend to more than 5,000 kids who otherwise might go hungry.

Feeding South DakotaFeeding South Dakota is part of Feeding America, an organization which offers relief to families in need through its nationwide network of food banks. This network spans 200 food banks and about 60,000 food pantries in the United States today. Last year, Feeding America served more than six billion meals to individuals in need.

“We feel extremely blessed to have the opportunity to partner with Gage Brothers on such a fun event,” said Kerri DeGraff, Development Director for Feeding South Dakota. “The event was a unique way to bring people together to share in laughs, while also helping to raise funds to help children who need it most.”

She added, “Thanks to Gage Brothers generous support, 3,875 children in need will be provided a nutritious meal.”

“A core value of Gage Brothers has been to give back to the community in which we live and work,” added Kelley. “We look forward to continuing a partnership with Feeding South Dakota in the years to come.”

Thank YOU to everyone who participated in Gage Brothers’ Red Nose Day FUN-raiser this year!

 

 

Gage Brothers recognized as an American Heart Association Fit-Friendly Worksite

Gage Brothers has been recognized as a Platinum-Level Fit-Friendly Worksite by the American Heart Association for helping its employees eat better and move more.

ucm_483457This is the fourth straight year that Gage Brothers has been recognized by the AHA as a fit-friendly worksite. The company attained gold-level status from 2013-2015.

“We are thrilled to be recognized by the American Heart Association as a Platinum Level Fit-Friendly Worksite,” said Gage Brothers president Tom Kelley. “Advancing the health, safety and well-being of our workforce is an absolute priority; it’s a commitment that encompasses the environments in which our employees work and the communities in which they live.”

He added, “”We’re offering smart eating options, physical activities, tools, tips, and incentives, and it’s rewarding to see our employees making better, more confident decisions about their health and wellness.”

Through the Fit Friendly Worksite program, AHA recognizes employers who go above and beyond when it comes to their employees’ health. It rewards organizations for their progressive leadership and concern for their staff.

Platinum-level employers:

  • Offer employees physical activity options in the workplace.
  • Increase healthy eating options at the worksite.
  • Promote a wellness culture in the workplace.
  • Implement at least nine criteria outlined by the American Heart Association in the areas of physical activity, nutrition and culture.
  • Demonstrate measurable outcomes related to workplace wellness.

035-1024x683
Gage Brothers supports a wellness culture in a variety of ways and employee surveys show health initiatives are making a difference. Gage Brothers’ healthy initiatives, which led to the Fit-Friendly award include:

  • Gage Brothers employees who are insured through the company’s health insurance provider receive a free membership to GreatLIFE Malaska Golf & Fitness. Team members are also encouraged to combine community involvement with physical activities by participating in golf and bowling tournaments, fun runs and walks benefitting various charities.
  • Employees have easy access to information on exercise and nutrition, as well as tips on how to change and keep habits. Gage Brothers offers a variety of incentives, such as corporate wellness challenges, along with free flu shots and biometric screenings, to help team members stay on track and reach their goals.
  • Office employees participated in a discussion that highlighted the dangers of prolonged sitting and were encouraged to install a StretchClock break reminder on their computers.
  • A corporate tobacco cessation program: five employees have completed the four-week course and remained smoke-free since the program’s establishment in late 2013. There are currently 13 employees enrolled in the program.
  • Gage Brothers partnered with a local medical facility to offered free, on-site skin cancer screenings to employees.

Employee-stretching_2-765x1024Thanks to these initiatives and others, more Gage Brothers employees are reporting increased physical activity, less stress, and improved health.  In addition, Gage Brothers employees are, today, more knowledgeable about their own health data than ever and many who participate in company team-based challenges continue the activity for an eight-week period.

Recognition is a critical component of the Fit-Friendly Worksites program. Employers that join this program qualify for official recognition by the American Heart Association. Qualifying worksites also have the right to use the program’s annual recognition seal for internal communications and with external, recruitment-related communications.

“We are very proud to be one of only a handful of companies in Sioux Falls to be recognized as a Fit-Friendly Worksite by the American Heart Association, now for the fourth consecutive year,” said Cassie Nicolai, Gage Brothers Human Resources and Safety Manager. “In the past few years, we have really tried to focus the program’s efforts on bringing education and services, such as health screenings, on-site to where the employees are working. Of course these efforts have a positive effect on the company’s bottom line but more importantly it shows our team members we are invested in them as a person.”

Gage Brothers is one of 11 organizations in the State of South Dakota to be recognized as a Fit-Friendly Worksite. Here is the complete list:

Augustana College
Gage Brothers Concrete Products, Inc.
POET
Raven Industries, Inc.
Vast Broadband
CNOS
Regional Health (formerly Rapid City Regional Health)
Avera
City of Sioux Falls
DAKOTACARE
Synchrony Financial

The American Heart Association Fit-Friendly Worksite program is a catalyst for positive change in America’s workforce; through helping worksites make their employees’ health and well-being a priority.

American employers are losing an estimated $225.8 billion a year because of healthcare expenses and health-related losses in productivity, and those numbers are rising. Many American adults spend most of their waking hours at sedentary jobs. Their lack of regular physical activity raises their risk for a host of medical problems, such as obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes. Employers face $12.7 billion in annual medical expenses due to obesity alone. The American Heart Association is working to change corporate cultures by motivating employees to start walking, which has the lowest dropout rate of any physical activity.

For more information about the Fit-Friendly Worksites program and how it’s helping to improve the health of Americans by focusing on the workplace, call 800-437-9710 or visit heart.org/worksitewellness.

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Employment Opportunities

Gage Brothers is currently seeking qualified applicants to fill positions at various levels of the precast concrete engineering process.  For a current list of openings available at Gage Brothers, visit our careers page here.

About Gage Brothers 

Gage Brothers Concrete Products Incorporated (gagebrothers.com) was established in 1915 by members of the Gage family and now employs more than 250 employees in northwest Sioux Falls. Employee-owned since 2008, Gage Brothers has a proud tradition of being a leading manufacturer of innovative architectural and structural precast concrete products. Products manufactured at the Sioux Falls plant can be found throughout the upper Midwest, including projects throughout Colorado, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming.  The Midwest’s premier precast concrete company registered $61 million in sales last year.

About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is the nation’s oldest, largest voluntary organization devoted to fighting cardiovascular diseases and stroke. Founded by six cardiologists in 1924, the organization now includes more than 22.5 million volunteers and supporters working tirelessly to eliminate these diseases. It funds innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies, and provide lifesaving tools and information to save and improve lives. The AHA’s nationwide organization includes 144 local offices and nearly 2,700 employees.

 

Gage Brothers wins 2016 Excellence in New Communications Award

TCB-SNCR-logo250The Society for New Communications Research of The Conference Board (SNCR) has recognized Gage Brothers Concrete with a 2016 Excellence in New Communications Award. The prestigious awards program honors organizations for their exemplary use of digital, mobile and social media.

Gage Brothers received top honors in the Visual Storytelling Category for the Corporate Division.

“We are happy to honor Gage Brothers as a winner of this distinguished award,” commented SNCR Senior Fellow Paul Gillin, chair of the SNCR Excellence Awards & Best Practices committee.

Gage Brothers was recognized for a broad-based social media and public relations campaign that spotlights both its employees and products. The efforts produced tangible results; including a significant increase in social media followers, more local news coverage and improved employee satisfaction.

Since January of 2015, the fan base for the Gage Brothers Facebook page has more than doubled, while the company’s Twitter following has increased by 44.3% in the past four months.

13241169_10104025240921847_4238959482543131465_nTools used in the campaign included employee-engaged videos, time-lapse construction videos, weekly trivia, dozens of digital photo albums and the creation of a company blog.

Added Gillin, “The case study they submitted is a perfect example of how companies can use social media to create a sense of community within the business, not only increasing engagement internally but also creating an attractive employer brand externally.”

Accepting the award on behalf of Gage Brothers was marketing manager Stephanie Pendrys.

“I am deeply honored to be here to accept this award on behalf of the nearly 250 fellow employees at Gage Brothers who made winning this award possible,” said Pendrys. “It is humbling for us to be recognized by an organization with such a rich history of bringing business leaders together to share insight and best-in-class practices.”

13227117_10104025240956777_6072646779514868903_nThe 2016 Excellence in New Communications awards were presented at a cocktail reception and ceremony held at the Conference Board’s Manhattan headquarters on May 18, in conjunction with the 21st Annual Corporate Communications Conference.

The SNCR Excellence in New Communications Awards program honors individuals and organizations for the exemplary use of digital, mobile and social media. Awards were granted in six divisions: Corporate, Government, Nonprofit/NGO, Media, Technology and Academic, and in seven categories. The top winners include:


Social Marketing                                                                                                                              

Corporate Division: Marriott International

Innovation, Digital and Marketing Experience

Corporate Division: John Hancock

Media Division: KCET Media Group

Social Data and Social Listening

Corporate Division: Johnson and Johnson

Government Division: The City of Calgary

Visual Storytelling

Corporate Division: Gage Brothers Concrete, Inc.

Nonprofit Division: Endeavor

Internal Social/Online Internal Communications and Communities

Government division: Oil and Natural Gas Corporation, Ltd

Mobile Experience

Government Division: The City of Calgary

Digital Program Performance Metrics

Corporate Division: Mambo Media

In addition to the top award winners, Commendations of Merit and Commendations of Excellence were presented to ten other organizations that submitted case studies in the awards program. In its ten-year history, SNCR has honored over 300 organizations and individuals through this prestigious awards program and all the winning case studies are available to members of The Conference Board at www.conferenceboard.org/sncr.

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About the Society for New Communications Research of The Conference Board

The Society for New Communications Research of The Conference Board (SNCR) is a nonprofit research organization and think tank dedicated to the advanced study of new media and communications tools, technologies and emerging modes of communication, and their effect on business, media, culture, health, law and society. In February 2016, SNCR became part of The Conference Board, a global, independent business membership and research association working in the public interest. Founded in 1916, The Conference Board is an objective, independent source of economic and business knowledge with one agenda: to help our member companies understand and deal with the most critical issues of our time. Visit http://www.conferenceboard.org/sncr for more information.

About Gage Brothers

Gage Brothers Concrete Products Incorporated (gagebrothers.com) was established in 1915 by members of the Gage family and now employs more than 250 employees in northwest Sioux Falls. Employee-owned since 2008, Gage Brothers has a proud tradition of being a leading manufacturer of innovative architectural and structural precast concrete products. Products manufactured at the Sioux Falls plant can be found throughout the upper Midwest, including projects throughout Colorado, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming.  The Midwest’s premier precast concrete company registered $61 million in sales last year.

Mitchell School District Performing Arts Center (In Progress)

Passersby might have noticed that the massive structure going up across the street from Mitchell High School (S.D.) looks a lot different than it did just one month ago.

From a steel skeleton surrounded by dirt and heavy-duty vehicles has emerged a building coming to fruition—the Mitchell School District’s new performing arts center.

With a target completion date of around Christmas, much of the work still remains on the sprawling facility, though the structure is taking shape.

7.1
Rendering ( c/o MSH Architects)

Excavation began last June on the 65,000-sq. ft. performance venue, which is being designed by MSH Architects of Sioux Falls. Building features include a 1,200-seat, 3-tier auditorium, rooms for the school’s choral, instrument and performing arts programs, and a smaller black box theater.

The predominant feature is the main auditorium—the largest high school theater in the state of South Dakota. The new theater is expected to boost the city’s music economy by bringing more state-sanctioned events and high caliber performers to Mitchell.

A naming rights deal has yet to be announced for the venue, which will be connected to part of the Mitchell Career and Technical Education Academy. This location functions with the existing buildings on campus and allows for options without disrupting the existing high school building when a new high school is constructed in the near future.

Gage Brothers has provided more than 21,000 square feet of insulated panels and 7,000 square feet of corefloor planks for the $15.3 million project. It took the company approximately 22 days to manufacture the precast in its Sioux Falls plant.

The placement of steel and precast concrete is being completed by Mitchell-headquartered Puetz Corporation. Founded in 1952 by Clarence Puetz, the third generation company offers services ranging from architecture to crane rentals and construction management.

Mitchell Performing Arts Center (In Progress) from Gage Brothers on Vimeo.

Gage Brothers is no stranger to city of Mitchell. The century-old company has worked on more than 150 jobs in Mitchell, dating back to the old Armour Creamery in 1959. Other projects of note in Mitchell include the new Avera Grassland Health Campus, Joe Quintal Stadium and the DWU/Avera Sports and Wellness Complex.

Gage Brothers also manufactured precast concrete products for the former Soukup & Thomas International Balloon & Airship Museum, which resided in Mitchell from 1992-2001 before being relocated to Albuquerque.

Mitchell+Fine+Arts+Center+-+Balcony+Right
Balcony Rendering (c/o MSH Architects)

Work is steadily progressing on the facility. Puetz has installed the corefloor planks and the roof bar joists. Performance spaces like the black box theater and practice rooms have gone from dirt to concrete floors.

Gage Brothers has been working with the Puetz Corporation since the mid 1960’s, when they manufactured concrete for school additions in White Lake and Alexandria, S.D.

Gage Brothers has collaborated with Puetz on a total of 75 building projects since 1964—38 in Mitchell alone, including the DWU Graham Hall remodel (1967), Mitchell Country Club (1973), CorTrust Bank (2000) McGovern Library (2005) and Jackson Plaza (2007).

IMG_2495Most recently, Puetz served as the general contractor for the new Dakota Wesleyan University/Avera Sports and Wellness Complex. DWU’s $10.5 million fieldhouse opened in February and was constructed with 87,000 square feet of Gage Brothers precast concrete products.

“Puetz is a long-time South Dakota company, and we’ve done a lot of successful projects together over the years,” said Gage Brothers president Tom Kelley. “We were happy to learn that we would be working together because Puetz is a highly-respected company with consistently increasing capabilities.”

Designing and building performing arts centers require a unique level of sophistication that often makes them incomparable to other projects, explained Kelley.

The design of performing arts centers are influenced by many aspects ranging from size, acoustics and rigging to sight lines, backstage maneuvering space and rehearsal areas.

“It’s a different animal because of the levels of complexities and one of those building projects where every square foot is thought over,” Kelley said.

Gage Brothers brought a wealth of experience to this project. The company has produced precast concrete products for performing arts centers across the Midwest for more than a half-century, starting with Morningside College’s Eugene C. Eppley Fine Arts Building in 1965. Other performance spaces include Sioux Falls College (now USF) fine arts center (1968), the Washington Pavilion (1996), Brandon Valley Performing Arts Center (1999), South Dakota State Performing Arts Center (2000), the award-winning DeWitt Theatre Arts Center at Northwestern College (2002), Harrisburg Performing Arts Center, and the O’Gorman Performing Arts Center (2011).

O'Gorman Performing Arts 0274Project challenges for the O’Gorman Performing Arts Center included a winter construction start and the need to build while school was in session, which limited the space available for construction and demolition. In addition, one-hundred percent of the funding for this project came through donations, so the budget was limited and sticking to it was imperative.

Despite these challenges, Gage Brothers was able to incorporate exceptional design elements that stayed within the budget and surpassed the owner’s expectations.

By working closely with Puetz Co. and the design partners, Gage Brothers is committed to providing the highest level of project supervision and communication for the new performing arts center in Mitchell.

“Everyone I have talked to is excited about it,” Kelley said. “It’s going to be a great venue.”