Nashville renovation project nets Build Tennessee Award

Messer Construction Co. has won the 2014 AGC Build Tennessee Award, in the $10-plus million renovation category, for its Madison Police Precinct and Crime Lab renovation project in northeast Nashville.

Messer received its award during the AGC of Tennessee’s awards banquet on Feb. 27, at Music City Center. It is the company’s first Build Tennessee award. In 2013, Messer was honored by the AGC of Tennessee with Awards of Merit, for construction management of the West Police Precinct and Middle Tennessee State University Student Union.

“It’s an honor to have this complex project recognized among the best in the state,” said Allen Begley, senior vice president at Messer. “This award is a representation of the hard work of our project team and the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County (‘Metro’).”

Messer headed the $29.5 million renovation, which transformed an abandoned, 42,000-square-foot truck manufacturing warehouse into an 84,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art crime lab and police precinct. The facility opened on Jan. 14 and is currently the only police precinct in Tennessee with its own crime lab.

The building also achieved a prestigious LEED Silver certification, which recognizes its reduced environmental footprint, due to its use of green elements – LED lighting, wireless lighting controls and bio-safety cabinets, among others – and exceptional recycling practices during construction – more than 180 tons of metal were recycled.

Charlie Ingram, project manager for Metro, said Messer’s work will benefit the building’s quality and longevity. “It was clear Messer was concerned with not only providing a high-quality building,” he said, “but with providing a high-quality building that will last for decades.”

The challenge, though, reached deeper than the inevitable, complex logistical and quality issues, as a rising crime rate in Nashville’s northern neighborhoods called for additional law enforcement resources in the area.

Nashville Mayor Karl Dean said he considers the combined police precinct and crime lab a significant step in fighting crime. “Having our own crime lab is a game-changer for public safety in our city,” Dean said. “This state-of-the-art facility will greatly enhance our investigative capabilities.”

Dean added to that sentiment in December after touring the facility for the first time, saying to the media, “I couldn’t be more thrilled about what I saw today.”

Because of the spike in crime, though, additional law enforcement support in the area could not wait for the project’s completion. As a result, Messer was called upon to renovate the basement of a neighboring building for use as a temporary precinct during construction.

The temporary precinct, however, was a public building, raising obvious logistical and safety issues for its 100-plus police officers. Therefore, throughout the construction process, Messer helped provide secure police parking and manage a safe public entry at the temporary site, resulting in zero recordable accidents or public incidents during the course of the project.

The process of transforming the warehouse into a state-of-the-art precinct and crime lab, though, was a complex and thorough endeavor, in and of itself. First, Messer carefully stripped down the building to only its structural steel. While many renovations involve demolition aspects, this included a meticulous, screw-by-screw disassembling of the building. A second floor was then added, doubling the building’s square footage, and from there the facility was very carefully brought together.

But logistical concerns often complicated the project, as the facility’s large, complex and extremely sensitive equipment required careful planning to effectively put into place. At times, entire rooms had to be built around intact equipment, because of its size.

To aid in this often-complex planning and execution, Messer employed a host of lean construction practices, including high-tech, innovative construction tools like LATISTA, laser scanning and Building Information Modeling (BIM). The result was a unique, multifaceted renovation project that was delivered on-time and within budget.

“Once again, working with Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County proved to 

be an outstanding experience,” Begley said of the project. “This award is a testament to their commitment to making Nashville a regional and national leader in sustainability and environmental quality, and we at Messer are very proud to be a part of the transformations taking place with their police precincts and fire stations.”

With a new facility in place, Nashville law enforcement is now able to devote even more resources to furthering the safety of the city.

“…This renovation has transformed the way Nashville and Davidson County investigate crime in our neighborhoods,” Ingram noted. “I am grateful for the expertise provided by the entire Messer team.”

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