Friday, January 18, 2013

[236] Turner Constructrion, MTSU celebrate Science Building milestone

For release:  Jan. 11, 2013

MTSU Marketing and Communications contact: Andrew Oppmann, 615-494-7800 (office), 615-339-8851 (cell) or
MTSU News and Media Relations contact: Randy Weiler, 615-898-5616 or
Turner Construction Co. contact: Kevin N. Overton (senior project manager)
256-461-6700 (office), 256-990-2881 (mobile) or 

MURFREESBORO — With city and state lawmakers and others on hand, Turner Construction Co. celebrated a milestone Friday with the $147-million MTSU Science Building by conducting a “topping out” ceremony.

A signed beam with MTSU and Turner logos on opposite ends was set by Turner team members atop the facility, which is 30-percent complete and scheduled to open in early 2015 with a projected 250,000-plus gross square feet of space.

State Sens. Bill Ketron and Jim Tracy, and state Reps. Joe Carr, Mike Sparks, and Dawn White attended. Ketron, Carr and White are MTSU alumni. Alumnus John Hood, a staunch backer and Science Building ally while serving in the state House of Representatives, also attended. Hood serves as MTSU’s director of governmental and community affairs.

“Just look how much work has been done in such a short period of time,” MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee said.Today, as the last piece of steel is placed on the highest point of this structure, we move closer to our goal of having this facility ready for students by the spring of 2015.

“Once completed, this sorely-needed structure will give our university a world-class teaching and research facility that will be not only the best in the state of Tennessee, but also in the top tier among universities across the nation,” McPhee added. “It will demonstrate our commitment to providing more science and technology graduates to bolster the economy of our region and state.”

McPhee offered praise to Turner Construction Co. “on their achievements, which we can all see for ourselves today.”

“We are proud to be a part of the team and we look forward to a successful project — and many more — with MTSU,” Turner senior project manager Kevin Overton said.

Steve Kazay, Turner project executive, said the project is a total embodiment of a team effort.

“The team on the project — MTSU, TBR, the design team, Turner and our subcontractors — all are working incredibly well together,” Kazay said. “How those teams came together has been exceptional.”

John Gromos, Turner vice president and general manager, also shared remarks, which included the announcement of three, $2,000 scholarships to be awarded per semester to a science student, a building science or concrete industry student and one at the discretion of McPhee.

Gromos noted that 15 MTSU alumni work at Turner, with plans to hire two more, and that student interns from the university’s Concrete Industry Management program are assisting Turner staff on the science building project.

Dodging rain showers in the spring-like 68-degree temperature, more than 300 people attended the ceremony near the project site on the south side of campus.

Also attending were joint venture designers Thomas Miller & Partners LLC/Hastings Architecture Associates and MTSU’s first-year trio of Drs. Bud Fischer, dean of the College of Basic and Applied Sciences; Lynn Boyd and Greg Van Patten, respective chairs of the biology and chemistry departments.

MTSU broke ground on the facility May 3. As of Jan. 9, the project includes 62,000  work hours, 2,950 cubic yards of concrete, 200,000 square feet of decking and 1,750 tons of steel. Gromos said the work hours include zero lost time accidents. (For “Watch the new Science Building grow!” updates, visit

“We’ve had great achievements to this point, but we have a long way to go,” Gromos said. “This is a hugely important project. Our challenge is to keep our focus and our construction team safe. We want to make sure we finish strong.”

MTSU’s enrollment has almost quadrupled in the last 45 years — from 6,779 students in 1968 to a record 26,442 in fall 2011 — with no increase in space for science education. The university’s existing Wiser-Patten Science Hall and Davis Science Building were built in 1932 and 1967, respectively, and have a combined total of only 75,332 net square feet.

The $147 million project approved by the Tennessee General Assembly includes $18.75 million to be raised by the university through community donations (individuals, corporations and local government), student fees and other university sources.

Nearly $20 million was spent to prepare for construction of the Science Building. That money provided for a new campus chilling plant, distribution lines, planning, site preparation and demolitions of old residence halls.

Gov. Bill Haslam’s 2012-13 state budget included almost $127 million for construction of the Science Building. Both the state House and Senate approved the spending plan, which the governor then signed into law.

About Turner Universal

Turner Universal is a wholly owned subsidiary of Turner Construction Co., the leading general builder in the U.S. Turner Universal has maintained a permanent office in Middle Tennessee for several decades and is responsible for Turner’s operations in Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. Turner Universal provides its clients with specialized knowledge of the construction business in the Southeast combined with the nationwide resources and experience of Turner.

In 2012, Engineering News Record ranked Turner as the nation’s No. 1 builder in the education, healthcare, correctional facilities and pharmaceutical market segments as well as the nation’s No. 1 green builder.

About MTSU

Founded in 1911 as one of three state normal schools for teacher training, MTSU is now the oldest and largest public university in Middle Tennessee. With an enrollment of more than 25,000 students, MTSU is the largest undergraduate university in Tennessee. MTSU remains committed to providing individualized service in an exciting and nurturing atmosphere where student success is the top priority. With a wide variety of nationally recognized academic degree programs at the baccalaureate, master's and doctoral levels, MTSU takes pride in educating the best and the brightest students from Tennessee and around the world.

Note: Video will be available later today. Visit to link to the video.

McPhee applauds.jpg photo caption

MTSU President Dr. Sidney A. McPhee applauds as the final beam of steel is raised into place at the Science Building construction site on Friday. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt/Creative and Visual Services)

Tracy, McPhee and Gromos.jpg photo caption

State Sen. Jim Tracy, R-Shelbyville, MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee and Turner Construction Co. vice president and general manager John Gromos discuss the topping out celebration Friday for the new Science Building at MTSU. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt/Creative and Visual Services)

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