Awards, Michael Blakemore, Project News

Parker University Begins Fall Trimester

October 12, 2021

Parker University Begins Fall Trimester with Assistance from Skiles Group; New and Rebuilt Facilities Transform Campus After 2019 Tornado

Parker University’s ParkerFit gym, built by Skiles Group, opens for Fall 2021 and garners TEXO Distinguished Building Award.

Dallas, TX, Oct. 12, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Following extensive tornado destruction on its campus in October of 2019, Parker University tapped Skiles Group, a national general contracting and Lean Construction management firm based in Richardson, Texas, to help it rebuild and add facilities in time for students to return to the classroom by Fall 2021.

“Parker University has been incredible to work with. Their focus on educational excellence and student engagement is at the highest level. Although expectations are great, they work to ensure the success of the team,” says Michael Blakemore, senior vice president of Skiles Group. “Many companies and individuals came together to contribute to the success of the Parker South Building and the ParkerFit facility. We are deeply grateful to Parker University for creating an environment where everyone could perform at their best.”

Parker University’s New South Building Opens

Parker University’s new 64,000-square-foot South Building provides students with more than 25,000 square feet of learning space filled with state-of-the-art technological and educational resources. Getting to a finished product by this fall entailed overcoming a series of unique challenges.

From the beginning, Parker University’s schedule requirements were aggressive to meet the fall delivery date. Throw in a global pandemic, historic ice storm, flood, and having to replace the entire first-floor slab due to ground settlement, and the challenges quickly escalated. As a result, Skiles Group completely re-sequenced construction activities to meet the projected finish without delay.

In addition to the tight timing, Skiles Group had to maintain student, staff, and visitor activity and safety while working in the middle of campus around numerous temporary services. Then, when the COVID-19 pandemic began just months after the tornado, new health protocols were swiftly created to maintain safety and mitigate the impact of the tremendous pressure on labor and material scheduling. In such a tight setting and having been subjected to the effects of a large tornado, the existing South Building structure was laser scanned to ensure the integrity and accurate installation of building components in the rebuilt and new space.

ParkerFit Provides Advanced Health and Fitness Opportunities

Skiles Group was also tasked with bringing the university’s 21,000-square-foot ParkerFit gym to life. This campus facility features the Human Strength and Performance Lab, equipping students and faculty to become healthier individuals and future practitioners. ParkerFit includes a group fitness studio, cardio area, exercise equipment area, functional fitness area, indoor turf track, freedom climber, locker rooms, saunas, flatscreen televisions and projectors, outdoor sports courts, and outdoor exercise areas.

The ParkerFit facility recently was awarded with a TEXO Distinguished Building Award for Interior Finish Out. TEXO is the largest construction industry trade association in Texas.

Parker University, architect Perkins & Will, and Skiles Group employed Lean Construction principles to establish a relationship based on mutual trust and respect to ensure the successful delivery of such an important project. Key project goals were set from the beginning and were frequently measured, creating accountability. Any challenges faced were overcome collaboratively as a team.