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Still Building in Kentucky

By Mark Green

Though the recession and financial crisis of 2008 were brutal and the recovery has been weak, many commonwealth capital projects continue to move forward. Though far from optimal, conditions in Kentucky’s construction sector are better than most probably assume.

More than $1 billion in privately funded healthcare projects have kept thousands of construction workers employed during and since the recession hit. Financed by hospital revenue, the $540 million Phase I of the Albert B. Chandler Hospital at the University of Kentucky began accepting patients in late May; its build-out continues through the rest of the decade. Owensboro Medical Health System is midway through a $385 million hospital construction project, and Central Baptist Hospital in Lexington has begun a $200 million expansion.

Featured separately on pages 28-31, higher education in Kentucky has had more than $1.8 billion in capital construction the past few years.

In addition to building construction, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet since late 2007 has initiated 126 highway and bridge construction, renovation or maintenance projects of more than $1 million. Those contracts totaling $1.369 billion were won by 54 companies.

The 10 largest recent state transportation contracts are:
• $66.4 million – Paducah-Smithland Road (US 60) in McCracken and Livingston counties – Kay & Kay joint venture with Haydon Bridge

• $49.4 million – Watterson Expressway I-265 Westport Road in Jefferson County – Hall Construction of Kentucky

• $45.6 million – Mountain Parkway in Wolfe County – Hinkle Contracting

• $44.8 million – Wolfpit-Laurel Branch (US 460) in Pike County – Elmo Greer & Sons

• $39.2 million – Lexington Road (US 27) in Garrard County – The Allen Company

• $39.1 million – Tennessee State Line-Elizabethtown Road in Edmonson and Barren counties – Scotty’s Contracting and Stone

• $38.2 million – Louisville-Lexington Road (I-64) in Shelby and Jefferson counties – Gohmann Asphalt and Construction

• $37.5 million – Owensboro-Maceo Road (US 60) in Daviess County – Yager Materials

• $36.0 million – Pikeville-Virginia State Line Road (US 4) in Pike County – Hi-View

• $35.9 million – Louisville-Covington Road (I-71) in Gallatin County – Eaton Asphalt Paving Co.

A $130 million expansion and update will prepare the long-time home of the Chevrolet Corvette to produce the next generation of the iconic sports car for the 2012 model year. Here, a plant worker inspects a new 2011 Corvette on the assembly line.

A Ford Explorer rolls off the former assembly line at Ford’s Louisville Assembly Plant. A $600 million total rebuild of the facility will make it into what Ford officials say will be the most advanced flexible vehicle assembly plant in the world, able to retool swiftly and produce up to six separate vehicles simultaneously.

Owensboro Medical Health System’s replacement 477-bed, $385 million hospital project is slated for completion in spring 2013. The 760,000-s.f. hospital will be sited on a 150-acre health campus. KLMK Group is the owner’s representative, providing project management services. Hammel, Green and Abrahamson (HGA) is architect. Smith Seckman Reid Inc. is providing mechanical, electrical and technology engineering, and Bryant Engineering Inc. (BEI) of Owensboro is civil engineers. Turner Universal is construction manager.

Southland Christian Church is undertaking a $30 million transformation of the
former Lexington Mall property into a new church campus. Demolition is underway for what will be 84,000 s.f. of adaptive reuse and addition of a 49,000-s.f. worship center. The site plan, shown in an artists rendering, includes a plaza, water feature and parking for 1,800 vehicles. EOP Architects is the designer.

Groundbreaking took place in November 2010 on the $20 million Phase 1 of the University of Louisville Nucleus life sciences research park. The eight-story 160,000-s.f. building is scheduled for completion in 2012. Arrasmith, Judd, Rapp, Chovan is architect and Sullivan & Cozart is construction manager.

Central Baptist Hospital in Lexington broke ground in fall 2010 on a $200
million 337,000-s.f. expansion, at left a seven-story facility to include 40 ICU
beds, 44 private beds, a cancer center, a women’s center with delivery room and
imaging services. It is scheduled for completion in late 2012 or early 2013.

Groundbreaking took place May 11 for a new $20 million Glasgow State Nursing Facility. Designed by Lexington-based CMW Inc., the one-story, 72,000-s.f. building will have 100 beds. The contractor, D.W. Wilburn in Lexington, expects to complete work by early fall 2012.

Groundbreaking was held April 14 for Asahi Bluegrass Forge Corp. at a new Madison County site. Denham-Blythe Co. Inc. began construction of the $20.3 million, 70,000 s.f. facility in March and expects completion in November. Ashai Bluegrass Forge manufactures wheel-hub parts for the automobile industry. From left to right: John Cromika, Asahi Forge America; Mack Ishigaki, Asahi Bluegrass Forge; Denis Steiner, Denham-Blythe Company, Inc.; Rita Smart, Kentucky State Representative; Mark Asahi, Asahi Forge Company; Seiichi Asahi, Asahi Forge Company.

Denham-Blythe Co. Inc. designed and constructed a 64,000-s.f. addition for Country Oven Bakery in Bowling Green. The project began in the spring of 2010 and was completed in January of 2011. The project construction costs were $9 million, but the total investment from Kroger was around $25 million. The bakery produces cakes, cookies and other treats that are shipped out to Kroger stores across the nation.

Construction is under way in Winchester on a new Clark Regional Medical
Center, which was purchased in mid-2010 by Brentwood, Tenn.-based
LifePoint Hospitals. LifePoint is replacing the existing 100-bed facility
with a $60 million, 132,000-s.f. hospital. Construction began last year
and is expected to take 18 to 24 months.

Groundbreaking took place in July 2010 for a $20 million building at University of Louisville – ShelbyHurst Research and Office Park. The four-story 125,000-s.f. structure adjoining the UofL Shelby Campus is slated for late 2011 completion. It is the first structure at the 200-acre office park, which is a partnership between the UofL Foundation and developer NTS. KlingStubbins is architect.

A $38.1 million project on I-64 in Jefferson and Shelby counties was completed
by Gohmann Asphalt and Construction Inc.

Construction is underway on a new 230-bed 300,000-s.f. hospital on the
University of Kentucky’s Coldstream Research Campus in northwest Lexington. The $129 million facility will be the new home of 185-year-old Eastern State Hospital, which serves 80 Kentucky counties. It will provide inpatient psychiatric treatment, forensic mental health services, and care for persons with brain injuries and psychiatric disabilities.

The $60 million St. Joseph – Mount Sterling hospital opened in mid-June.
The 40 private bed, 114,000-s.f. hospital was built on a 30-acre campus.

A $44.8 million project on U.S. 460 at Wolfpit-Laurel Branch in Pike County
is being constructed by Elmo Greer and Sons.