On Thursday, July 25th WHSAD students visited the construction site of the Columbia University expansion. Perhaps the most interesting part of the experience was what the employees of Turner had to say. Most of what was said was not only surprising to all the students but also extremely important given the status of the Earth and its ongoing struggle with climate change. Turner recognizes this struggle and works directly to combat this issue. Since 2008, Turner has been ranked as number one among the country’s green contractors by Engineering News-Record. Turner has completed more than twice as much green work as the next ranked firm. As a company they’ve been ensuring that in all the work they do they enable the best and most sustainable practices available. This was a major highlight for of all the students, and that specific aspect really helped make Turner stand out among the rest of the competition.
In addition to Turner’s green movement, those who go to work at Turner end up staying for the long haul. From not only what the workers said but what the students analyzed, Turner is like a huge family. This resonated with a lot of the students as they want to be in environments where growth is not only allowed but facilitated by the system.
Below students who participated in the site visit speak to their experience at the site.
Ashton C. Villarruel: “What I liked about the trip was hearing the experiences of the people who worked at Turner. One worker was talking about how he wanted to pursue a career that focused in areas of his interest. He liked science and math which was why he decided to pursue a career in construction. One thing I found surprising was the many backgrounds found in architecture. There’s a lot you can do at Turner; it isn’t just specialized in one field. This is good because there’s room for everybody not only to work there but to grow. One thing I learned was to keep on doing hard work because in the end it’ll pay off.”
Oliver Whitson: “What was most surprising to me was seeing how much of a grueling task construction management is. I knew it was hard initially but being able to hear first-hand accounts from the workers showed me that the job of a construction manager is very intricate and every detail has to be considered by a manager to ensure that the project they’re working on comes to fruition on schedule. Something I learned was how a job at Turner can turn into a long term career. Many people who go to work there stay there for years and years. This is a big opportunity for those interested because it can help them learn, grow, and not stay in one place.”
Sade Bent: “What I found most surprising about the visit was the costs that it takes to complete a full building. I believe [Jim Rengstl] said that the project for the Columbia University expansion was around $80 million. Also, the way they designed the building was very surprising. They put a lot of detail into it and even considered how those who enter the building will feel. Something I learned was how to make buildings “green” and how the building expansion for Columbia is aiming to be one of the greenest buildings in New York. Something I found surprising was how long the process takes for a building to be built from the original design process to when it can officially be opened up to the public. It can take several years.