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Category - News

The Columbus Zoo’s Dinosaur Island exhibit is extinct…for now

If you ask Superintendent, Rod Shaeffer, what ranks high on his list of favorite Smoot Construction jobs, he’ll mention the installation of the Columbus Zoo’s Dinosaur Island exhibit. Why? Because it’s different from a typical day in the field of construction and the work is relaxing.

For approximately the past six years, Rod has been leading a crew of about four people to install more than 30 animatronic dinosaurs each spring on the shore side near the Australian and Islands section of the Zoo. His team does all the rigging and placement of the creatures that are made of steel and covered in urethane waterproof skin.

This season’s dinosaurs were acquired from Dino Don Incorporated, in which its owner, Dino Don Lessem, was adviser to Stephen Spielberg’s, Jurassic Park. Due to the tight sight constraints and the use of large equipment, careful planning was involved to avoid damaging the reconstructed prehistoric animals and the surrounding Zoo environment.

Installation takes about a month to complete, and the exhibit typically opens over Memorial Day weekend and runs until the end of October, when The Smoot Team takes it down. Keep an eye out next spring when this exciting attraction comes back from extinction!

Smoot receives high accolades for Kenyon College’s Chalmers Library

On the evening of Friday, October 29, Kenyon College celebrated its Grand Opening ceremony of the new Kenyon College Chalmers Library with many of our Smoot Construction team members in attendance at the event. Kenyon College gave high accolades and made a point to recognize all key stakeholders for their successful delivery of the new Chalmers Library. This included Kenyon College’s project management team, GUND Partnership (design team), and our Smoot Construction Team.

Smoot Construction would like to recognize ALL the individuals who have been a part of making the Library a success. We also want to say “Thank you” to the Smoot Team members for continuing the never-ending drive, commitment, and the failure-is-not-an-option attitude they put forth every day as we continue construction on the remaining facilities of the overall West Quad Development project.

Project Background

Smoot has been engaged as a partner with Kenyon College on the West Quad Development project dating back to early logistics studies and the pre-construction stage in 2016.  Since then, the Smoot Team has worked side by side with Kenyon College, the design team, and many other stakeholders to provide Kenyon College with their new state-of-the-art, LEED® Gold certified 98,000-sf Library. ​​​​​​​The Chalmers Library is only one component of the Kenyon West Quad Development project. Other facilities include an Admissions and Financial Aid Building, Academic Building, and a 238,000-sf underground parking garage.

Site work continues for the $32 million STEM Center at The Ohio State and COTC shared campus

It’s been about three months since the ground-breaking ceremony for the highly anticipated $32 million STEM Center that is currently under construction on the shared campus of The Ohio State University at Newark and Central Ohio Technical College.

According to Kim Manno, the director of advancement for COTC and Ohio State Newark, the campus has waited about 20 years for The John and Mary Alford Center for Science and Technology project.

As the Construction Manager at Risk for the STEM Center, Smoot Construction is currently leading the site work to prep for the 60,000-sf structure. An article written by Cindy Riley, CEG Correspondent, explains students pursuing a major in life or physical science can look forward to ample learning space, including new instructional science and research labs and a 3,500-sf health science simulation center.

The new building is expected to open in 2021.

Safety Week 2017

“It’s in our hands.” That’s the theme of Safety Week 2017. In its fourth year, the annual initiative brings together groups across the construction industry through training sessions and other events nationwide to emphasize the importance of creating a culture of safety on the jobsite.

This year’s event runs May 1 to May 5 and promotes jobsite safety as a shared responsibility. The theme also draws attention to the prevalence of hand injuries, as work-related damage to hands, fingers and tendons is one of the most common causes of missed work days. We spoke with Smoot Construction’s Matt McMillion, Corporate Safety Director, about the company’s approach to safety.

How would you describe Smoot Construction’s overall approach to safety?
The foundation of any successful safety program is of course Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) compliance – however, in reality, this is just the beginning. A large part of Smoot Construction’s approach to safety is to stress the importance of creating an exceptional overall safety culture at all of our jobsites, as well as the company as a whole.

We have achieved a safety-first culture by placing a strong focus on accident prevention, continual employee training, which features customized safety and health OSHA programs, as well as management training and consultation (referred to as OSHA on-site). This training can help employees determine potential hazards at worksites, improve occupational injury and illness prevention programs, and possibly even qualify for a one-year exemption from routine OSHA inspections.

Within our company, who holds the responsibility to ensure worker safety?
Though the responsibility of worker safety ultimately falls upon the shoulders of the company’s Corporate Safety Director, our leadership tasks all employees with safety. From new hires to our most seasoned employees, each and every one of us are ultimately responsible for the safety of our workers on jobsites.

What is Smoot Construction’s future goals related to safety?
Smoot Construction’s number one goal regarding safety has remained the same for countless years – and will surely never change. Our employees, inclusive of leadership, work tirelessly to ensure each worker on our jobsites goes home safely to their loved ones every single day.

What are the benefits of Safety Week, and how does Smoot Construction participate?
By participating in Safety Week, we are able to turn our attention to safety-specific issues that may be occurring within the industry as a whole. This year, Smoot Construction is focusing on fall protection with a company-wide safety stand down. All employees and subcontractors will be trained to heighten the awareness of fall protection, as well as the new OSHA Fall Protection Standard implemented early this year.

What does leading our firm’s safety efforts mean to you, personally?
Leading the company’s safety efforts is beyond immeasurable and immensely humbling. I have found that it is the opportunities in life you do not take advantage of that you tend to regret the most. I see clearly that it is this career choice that has provided me with the opportunity to ensure hundreds and hundreds of people go home safely to their families every day.

Smoot Construction Supports Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Ohio 2017 Bowl For Kids Sake Event

Giving Back is at the Very Foundation of Our Success!

Smoot Construction recently helped support the March 4th Bowl for Kids Sake Event, which is sponsored by Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Central Ohio. More than 1,5OO members of the local community and 1OO companies come together each year in support of the event, which, this year, raised more than $443,000 for the non-profit organization!

Teams of five bowlers competed to raise the most money and celebrate their efforts during bowling fun at the Columbus Square Bowling Palace. It was an exciting day full of live entertainment, local celebrities, raffle drawings, special prizes, and refreshments.

Smoot’s General Counsel, Dana Smoot, personally supports the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Ohio. Dana serves as the Board Chair, offering countless hours to help the organization make a positive difference in children’s lives. Certified Big Brothers and Big Sisters provide high-risk children with a compass and direction for positive futures. Their programs develop higher aspirations, greater confidence, and educational success. They also help children realize their potential and build their futures.

Columbus Mayor Honors Smoot Construction

Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther Honors Smoot Construction for Our Participation in Building the Largest African American Museum in the U.S.

Earlier this month, Lewis R. Smoot, Sr., Mark S. Cain, and Lewis R. Smoot, Jr., accepted a Certificate of Recognition on behalf of the company for our leadership in constructing the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Columbus Mayor, Andrew Ginther, not only paid homage to the organization for our role in the successful completion of this historical landmark, but for the exceptional contributions the firm has made to the city of Columbus.

We recognize this honor as a reminder of our employees’ hard work, dedication, and efforts in which they put forth each and every day. Our leadership offered their congratulations and gratitude to all members of the Smoot Construction organization.

Smoot Construction Awarded Columbus Zoo and Aquarium’s Wild World/Sea Lions

Smoot Construction has been awarded a CM at Risk contract for The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium’s New Exhibit Region: Wild World/Sea Lions.

This Wild World Exhibit experience shall be salt spray, sea lions and one-on-one animal encounters. Directly inside the Zoo’s Entry Plaza, this region will delight and enchant zoo guests with unforgettable animal encounters, presentations and tours; wild, Jack Hanna-themed experiences; a raucous colony of bellowing seals and sea lions, and much more.

Certain to be an adventure for the entire family, Wild World will be developed in the current Jungle Jack’s landing area and will actually incorporate some of the popular existing rides. The region will be based not on a specific, geographic location, but instead on a fun, nature-oriented and whimsical land where the connection between people and wildlife is celebrated.

The anticipated project timeline is:

Photo of the Day

Many thanks go out to Smoot Construction’s own Joe Hedrick who snapped this awesome shot of several of the company’s work trucks. The trucks look pretty darn cool surrounding a Columbus Ohio water tower.


Ohio Expo Center Ready to Roll

The new Ohio Exposition Center project has completed. The project featured the demolition of several structures, as well as the associated site and utility work that was required in preparation for new building. The new 100,000 square-foot Cardinal Hall features a large main hall for trade and exhibition shows, along with multi-level lighting, electrical distribution, and networking capability for CCTV & Internet, water and drain access, large access doors with dock for loading in and out and storage space, as well at the ability to divide the space into multiple exhibit areas.

“Smoot Construction delivered the facility on time, despite OEC’s request to add a number of value-added enhancements, including an additional elevator, terrazzo tile in the concourse, the agriculture hall of fame, as well as additional parking. Your on-site construction team also worked through unforeseen and unsuitable underground conditions without any delay to the project. I would be remiss if I did not mention your team’s exemplary quality and attention to detail that was apparent throughout the project. The masonry and exterior Alpolic panels’ quality were of the highest order,” stated Virgil Strickler, General Manager, Ohio State Fair Commissioners.

We know a happy client is the best client!

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French-Immersion School Opens to Students

Smoot Construction has completed construction of the newest Columbus City School, Ecole Kenwood, which is a French-Immersion school. The 66,000 square-foot school, which was designed and constructed with energy efficiency and sustainability in mind, also has an amphitheater, state-of-the-art audio-visual and security systems, Wi-Fi throughout, a gymnasium, and indoor and outdoor dining spaces.

The new Ecole Kenwood Elementary School is a replacement building located on the same urban site as the previous school. The project met the challenges of the constricted site while supporting the school’s Pre-Kindergarten through sixth grade French language immersion program. High-tech classrooms and flexible collaboration spaces will allow students to explore language through a variety of learning styles.

“It’s (the new facility) only going to enhance the great things that we’ve already begun and allow us to expand our 21st-century learning,” said Emma Corbin, now in her second year as principal at the school.

The new school’s technology, which was incorporated into the building, is designed to help children jump into the next generation.