The YMCA had not significantly upgraded its infrastructure at Camp Greenville in over one hundred years. As the camp looked at expanding its facilities to meet increasing demand and address a need for updated cabins and buildings with a multi-million-dollar expansion, the directors realized their water and sewer system must be updated to support the proposed facility expansion. The YMCA issued an RFQ and chose Harper as its Construction Management partner. Over the next year, Harper replaced eroding and out-of-use pipe, upgraded pump station capabilities, and allowed the camp to begin discussing improvements to their buildings to welcome a new generation of campers.

Alternative Delivery (Construction Management At-Risk or Design-Build) is still relatively unique in the utility sector, particularly on smaller projects. Therefore, the use of an Alternative Delivery contract for a project valued at less than $5 MM was a departure from standard procedure. However, due to the uncertainty of the exact scope of the project and the Engineer and Owner’s prior experience with Alternate Delivery, this stood out as the correct option. This contract allowed the Owner, Engineer, and Construction Manager to collaborate from the start of the project. This collaboration led to significant value engineering and avoidance of unnecessary costs. It also allowed for savings to be returned to the YMCA.

Located at an active youth and family camp at the top of Caesar’s Head Mountain in South Carolina, the project site proposed unique challenges to safety and schedule. Because portions of work required the lake to be drained and water and/or sewer service to be discontinued to cabins, work had to be scheduled around camp sessions. This meant little to no work could be performed during the summer and there were significant down times during the spring and fall as well. The result was work occurring during the winter, which brought snow and ice due to elevation. The schedule required detailed coordination among the Project Team to ensure efficiency and no disruption to the camp schedule. Access to the camp was also strictly coordinated due to safety concerns for both campers and access roads in the winter months.

The Project Team chose to use a unique treatment system for the infrastructure upgrades at Camp Greenville. The first packaged treatment plant of its kind in South Carolina, the AX-MAX Packaged Treatment Plant and associated STEP Systems provide an efficient and cost-effective solution to the need for improved treatment systems. Because the camp sees dramatic changes in flow among seasons, the chosen system needed to be versatile as well as low maintenance. The AX-MAX Treatment System met both criteria and was within the desired budget.

Because of the procurement method, the Harper Team had involvement in the project from the beginning. This allowed our team to have input on design, budget, schedule and project sequencing. This collaboration brought the best suppliers and subcontractors to the conversation early. It also allowed the Harper Team to self-perform a significant amount of the work. From site preparation to equipment installation, the Harper Team worked with the Owner and Engineer to ensure a safe work environment and realize significant cost savings. Harper’s expertise in equipment installation and coordination ensured an excellent end result for the YMCA. Using Harper personnel primarily on the project also allowed Harper to be flexible and adaptable to the needs of the YMCA because the primary coordination was the Harper team, not additional subcontractor or supplier teams.

The result was a project that allowed the camp to continue operating throughout construction. The improvements also set the stage for the additional upgrades to the camp so that it can continue serving families for generations.