Architecture and Design

Kristin Farmer Education and Research Center – University of North Texas, Denton, Texas

This project involves the renovation of an existing facility purchased in 2010 and gifted to the University to function as an Autism Treatment Center. The research center consists of approximately 20,900 square feet of area that incorporates spaces for family counseling, lab and testing observation rooms, clinical and administration suites, client services, and staff areas.

The building purchased was originally a funeral home, which had been added to several times. When purchased by UNT, the budget for this project was very tight and could not be exceeded under any circumstances. Knowing this, we carefully detailed the project and thoroughly evaluated all of the conditions and the most cost effective options for materials and finishes. In an effort to minimize our fee, we were only asked to perform minimal construction administrative services with the facilities design team handling the heavy lifting on the construction phase. As the project was nearing completion and arrangements were being made for the dedication ceremony, we were asked to review an accessibility concern at the transition of one area of floor finishes. The condition was in fact non TAS complaint and not what was intended by our design team. We reviewed with the contractor his understanding of the condition and his understanding of the direction that was provided by the facilities design team leading the CA services. With the dedication ceremonies set and no time to work through the issue of the flooring, we worked with the contractor to provide an interim solution and they would address the issue following the ceremony. Although our minimal services did not include such activities, we reviewed the drawings with the contractor and the facilities team and pointed out that the existing slab had to be removed enough to allow the floor to have a flush condition. The contractor agreed to remove the new flooring, demolish what was required of the slab for a flush condition and because of the detail in the drawings, it was determined that the construction documents did address the issue as was intended. Resolution of this conflict came with orchestrating correspondence with both the facilities team and the contractor and working through coordination of details of the drawings. Doing this without additional cost to the client illustrated our intentions for the good of the project and to develop and maintain a positive long-term relationship.