Buena Vista University Harold Walter Siebens School of Business/Siebens Forum

Project Information

  • Owner

    Buena Vista University

  • Location

    Storm Lake, IA

  • Architect


  • General Contractor

    The Weitz Company

  • Engineer

    Baker Group

The renovation of Buena Vista University’s Siebens Forum is driven by student priorities, which include creating an inclusive atmosphere where students can come together, share in BVU’s school spirit and enjoy brighter studying and dining spaces. The renovation encompasses lounges, dining spaces, classrooms and resource areas for students, as well as an update of its commercial kitchen.

Baker Group is providing Design-Build, Building Information Modeling (BIM), prefabrication, HVAC, Sheet Metal, Plumbing, Piping and Building Automation services.

“The facility is built underground, which presents some unique challenges,” says Dave Regenold, Baker Group Project Manager. “Through the hard work of our designers and collaboration with project partners, we were able to come up with solutions that enable BVU to achieve its goals.”  

Kitchen Remodel Requires Aggressive Schedule
The kitchen upgrade involves updating waste, ventilation, domestic water, natural gas, heating water and chiller water piping. A dedicated makeup air unit and enhanced cooling capacity are also being added. Because the kitchen work must be complete during the summer months when students aren’t on campus, the extensive project requires significant planning and teamwork among all project partners.

Regenold says, “The timely installation of 12,000-lbs. of grease duct and extensive underground sanitary piping is key to the entire project’s success. Great teamwork, preplanning and excellent work by our tradespeople have this project off to a great start,” he says.  

HVAC Upgrade Encompasses Building Automation
Baker Group is rebuilding some of the existing HVAC system’s air handling units and is installing new variable air volume (VAV) boxes and grills. To enhance heating/cooling control in designated areas, Baker Group is also adding more zones of control to the building’s new makeup air, air handling and VAV units.

Making It Possible to Vent Underground Fireplace
As a focal point, BVU wanted to install a large circulator fireplace in a central open space. This required feeding gas and electrical connections from beneath the unit with heat and flue piping routing over its top. “These are significant challenges when the unit sits under a field with nowhere to vent flue gas,” Regenold says.

 The problem was solved by working with Weitz, fireplace vendor and the University to identify a location that was close enough for a booster fan to reach an exterior location.

Staying on Schedule Despite Distance
BVU is approximately 2.5 hours from Baker Group’s Ankeny headquarters and prefabrication shop. “In addition to this distance creating some challenging delivery logistics, 10-hour work days – six days a week – make just-in-time delivery of needed materials even more critical to the project’s success,” Regenold says.

Working with other inhouse experts, Baker Group created detailed production plans that encompassed transitions through design, drafting, takeoff, buying and installation. These plans were used to communicate and coordinate with vendors, resulting in highly efficient materials management.

“We always strive to provide the collaboration, expertise and capabilities that meet or exceed our clients’ expectations – so Baker Group’s focus is to fulfill all of BVU’s project requirements with outstanding results,” Regenold adds.

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