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May 31, 2018

Public Building
$20 million-$50 million

Photo provided by Clark Construction Group
Clark completed this WSU classroom building $127,000 under budget, even after adding $750,000 in upgrades.

The Spark

Location: Pullman

General contractor: Clark Construction Group

Owner: Washington State University

Owner's representative: OAC Services

Primary designer: ZGF Architects

Washington State University’s new digital classroom building, The Spark, serves as an academic innovation hub and a revolutionary teaching and learning space.

The Spark creates an environment that energizes and connects students and faculty.

Clark Construction partnered with WSU and ZGF Architects to complete this $43 million design-build project on time and under budget, even with numerous technological enhancements and additions.

The 83,000 square-foot, high-performance building is located in Pullman and boasts a 250-seat circular learning hall, faculty innovation studio, hoteling office space, media studio with 3-D printers, cafe, student development studio and event space. Clark, ZGF and WSU built more than an academic facility — through trust, transparency and design-build best practices, the team made a lasting positive impact in the community and will serve as a model of success for future WSU construction standards.

During the design-build validation period, WSU asked the team to help reduce the overall budget by $5 million. The team divided the project into essential base building elements and a list of “betterments.” The team organized a risk/opportunity cost matrix so the client could clearly see the value that the betterments offered. As a result, the team reduced final project costs by $5 million without altering any program requirements.

As construction progressed, the team reintroduced contingency back into the project. The team added convenience valves, upgraded door hardware, re-landscaped exterior areas, and improved the building’s technology.

Clark incorporated $750,000 in building design enhancements and still completed the project $127,000 under budget.

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