Opening two new YMCA buildings in the same area of South Carolina—at the same time—was a great feat for the parent organization, the YMCA of Coastal Carolina. And for the hundreds of people who came together to make both facilities happen, the accomplishment was all the more impressive considering the economic climate.
The two YMCAs are in relative close proximity to one another, but the communities in which they are located are quite different. Georgetown, home of the Georgetown YMCA, is an historic, antebellum, seaport community while Myrtle Beach, where the Claire Chapin Epps YMCA was built, features amusement parks, high-rises, theatres and sprawling shopping malls.
Both communities had been independently considering the development of recreational facilities, Myrtle Beach to replace a baldy worn, leased YMCA facility with limited services, and Georgetown, to create a recreational building for improved and expanded aquatics programming sorely needed in the community.
Proponents of the Georgetown project decided to join the Coastal Carolina group rather than form their own independent YMCA organization. A joint construction committee was created by the YMCA of Coastal Carolina featuring leaders from both communities. Working together the group established three primary project objectives:
• Explore the possibility of building both structures simultaneously using the same architect, general contractor and as many subcontractors as possible to create economies and save money.
• Employ value engineering techniques in the design and construction phases to find materials and methods that would be less expensive without sacrificing quality in the final products.
• Design with sustainability in mind to save on long-term energy costs and earn LEED certification for both projects.
The committee decided to accept bids for both projects, asking architects and contractors to submit bids for individual buildings and as a joint project. Ultimately, the joint committee chose the plans of the architectural firm of Pegram Associates in Myrtle Beach, where lead architect Dennis Springs and LEED-accredited architect, Joe Bace, presented designs for both projects. The committee selected FBi Construction, a full-service design and build contractor in Florence, SC to construction manage and build both facilities.
In addition to the exterior designs of both structures, there were two significant design differences in the two buildings although the interior footprints of both buildings are similar. The Claire Chapin Epps building in Myrtle Beach would include a basketball gymnasium while Georgetown was designed to add a gym at a future date. The Georgetown facility would feature an indoor, heated six-lane competition pool and recreation zone while Chapin Epps would have a heated pool with 4 lap lanes for recreational swimming and a recreation play zone.
Both would have strength training, cardiovascular and free weights facilities along with a group exercise area and cycling studio. Both would also have a sauna and men’s, women’s and family locker rooms. The exterior design of the two buildings was different. The Georgetown YMCA was done in a low country style to reflect the quiet, historic nature of the community. Pegram designed the Myrtle Beach facility with a Spanish stucco façade with rounded windows.
More than $13 was pledged for the construction and design of the two buildings, both of which were built on donated land. Only $1.5 million was borrowed, and it was specifically for the gymnasium in the 37,000-square-foot Myrtle Beach building.
Construction began on the Georgetown facility several weeks before work got underway at Claire Chapin Epps. Construction Manager Kent Gunter scoured the Georgetown facility design, creating a virtual checklist of elements that could be value-engineered to reduce costs without sacrificing quality. When he was finished, Gunter had compiled a list of 41 items that could be value-engineered at Georgetown and later at Chapin Epps as well.
For example, metal ductwork in the pool areas was switched to collapsible fabric ducts. Hardwood flooring was eliminated in some of the recreation areas. Motion sensors were replaced with conventional lighting controls. A spray-on wall covering was replaced with regular paint. Elaborate ceiling structures were replaced in both buildings with lay-in ceilings and the area above the lay-ins was spray painted black to create a floating feeling.
The committee chose standing seam metal roofs from Englert for both buildings. For the Georgetown facility, 13,000 sq. ft. of Englert’s Series 2000 panel in Pacific Blue were specified. The Chapin Epps building, meanwhile, features 18,600 sq. ft. of Series 2000 panels in a Sandstone color.
One of the design differences between the two buildings was that a flat wall with a standing seam metal mansard design was replaced with a straight wall on the Chapin Epps building. The contractor also reduced the thickness of the standing seam insulation material from 3 ½” to 1 ½” and eliminated the wood sheathing from the metal decks on both roofs. The roofing was installed by Spann Metal Roofing of Conway, SC. Spann also installed a 7” seamless box gutter system using Englert material, as well as Englert metal soffit material. “Tripp Spann of Spann Metal Roofing was very helpful in working out the details, particularly as we made changes in the initial designs,” said Amy Brennan, director of the Georgetown YMCA.
The UltraCOOL-finished standing seam roofing provided LEED points towards certification as a LEED project. In addition to the roof, Pegram also designed an irrigation system for storm water runoff that earned LEED credits, as well as ultra-violet filtration systems for both pools.
“This was a great team effort on everybody’s part,” notes Brennan. “We had an architect and general contractor on board with us with LEED building experience. We were able to amass LEED credits for sustainable construction at a minimal cost. And we were able to bid both projects together to get a combination price.”