Our vision has been set, our architectural design and specifications have been set, and construction has launched.
Let the dismantling begin! Our groundbreaking—or to be more precise, wall breaking—began on June 15, when the entire building interior was dismantled, floor by floor. That included removing the fitness equipment, wall mirrors, window coverings, rubber matting, and every fixture in the former health center.
Over the weeks that followed, under the coordination of Matt Lio, our Murphy Brothers Contracting project manager, we…
• closed an open atrium by installing structural steel and pouring a new concrete floor, adding roughly 400 square feet of new office space;
• completed the framing on all three floors;
• began installing the ductwork for the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system;
• completed the rough electrical and plumbing work—installing the hundreds of feet of pipes and thousands of feet of wiring hidden behind the walls;
• began the installation of drywall;
• began replacing the roof with an updated sustainable and high-performance white ethylene propylene diene monomer (better known as EPDM) roofing system that performs well under all kinds of weather and climate conditions, is resistant to extreme heat and ultraviolet radiation, features a low-reflective surface to keep the building cool in summer and reduce the heat island effect, and in the long-run, reduces a building’s energy costs.
Next on our agenda
Next, we will begin installing data and communications wiring, insulation, and finishing the drywall and taping, so we can begin painting. We will also begin installing the acoustical ceiling panels, fabricating and installing glass and aluminum office partitions, and continuing the installation of rooftop ductwork for the heating and air conditioning system.
Focus on… Our architect
Tecton Architects developed approach and specifications that interpreted our vision.
Q & A with Jeffrey Wyszynski, principal
Q. How would you describe your role in the Today Media project?
Initially, our role focused on design—designing all aspects of the new workspace and working with Today Media in developing the concept that would guide the project from beginning to end. Now our role has shifted from design to validating that the construction work is proceeding according to the design plans—to be an advocate for Today Media in making sure their vision is being developed.
Q. When you began planning the space, how did you envision it?
We wanted to keep the workspace open and bright—flooded with natural light. We kept the palette of finishes slightly muted with beige tones for a sophisticated look. The muted tones, contrasted with the dark tones of the floor covering, will nicely set off the Today Media branding, including magazine covers displayed on the walls.
Q. What are the main features of your architectural plans? What design solutions were you trying to address?
The new office will feature open spaces around the perimeters to flood in natural light so the natural day-lighting can be appreciated and shared. Harnessing the natural daylight not only has a positive impact on the environment, but a positive psychological impact, as well. Building in ways to make collaboration natural and easy was a key factor. Ringing the private offices around the center of the open office space is conducive to working together and team collaboration and eliminates the need to walk through the corridors to work with each other. The lobby and reception area will be inviting and more oriented to visitors as they enter than was previously possible in the Elmsford office. Another key requirement was building in a dedicated full-service photography studio complete with a dressing room and private storage.
Q. What has been your greatest challenge?
Creating an efficient floor plan to accommodate the amount of private offices and functions required by Today Media, and arrange the required elements into an existing building envelope. It’s like a puzzle—finding that magic solution. It was important to build in an adequate amount of shared spaces and conference rooms for collaborating, and still maintain an open feel. For example, in the lower level, we created a multi-purpose room that’s flexible for many different uses from having lunch to holding group presentations. It will have a fully functioning kitchenette with a microwave, flat-screen TV and comfortable seating. Each level will also have a small break area with a sink and coffee area. It was also essential to build in plenty of discrete storage space.
Q. In what ways have you been able to incorporate “green” elements?
From electrical to heating and air conditioning to plumbing, we’ve used environmentally friendly design. We wanted to make sure we included as many energy-efficient solutions as possible. We incorporated a high level of control in the mechanical systems, such as the HVAC system, lighting motion sensors so the lights automatically shut off when offices are unoccupied, and water-efficient plumbing for reduce water use.
Q. From your perspective, how is the project progressing?
It’s progressing very well. The Murphy Brothers team is thorough and responsive and we’re staying on schedule. The efforts of both of our firms are pretty well choreographed—we’ve been able to work well as a team to resolve any issues. It’s a fun and exciting project!
Our general contractor
Murphy Brothers Contracting is managing the entire renovation of our new workspace from beginning to end.
A Q&A with Sean Murphy, vice president and operations director
Q. How would you describe your role in the Today Media project?
As the general contractor on the project, we’re responsible for managing the entire project from beginning to end. We coordinate with the project’s architect, Tecton Architects, and the approved specifications to make sure the end result is what was envisioned. We make sure the vision set by Today Media and Tecton falls into place. Our job is to keep the project humming and under control.
Q. What do your management responsibilities involve?
Sourcing materials, managing bids, hiring and supervising subcontractors to handle all the elements involved, from dismantling to the last accessory and everything in between, including the 100 plus workers needed to complete the work. Most importantly, we make sure the project is successful and stays on schedule. That requires conducting weekly onsite meetings to help coordinate all of the trades people involved and their schedules, discuss their progress, and review their next steps.
Q. Speaking of dismantling, were special steps taken to salvage materials?
Yes. We wanted to make sure the building’s interior was dismantled in an environmentally responsible way and that, wherever, possible we salvaged and recycled materials, such as floor covering, commercial fluorescent lighting, lockers, doors, and cabinetry for use in other projects later. We also contracted with a company known for repurposing and sorting discarded materials into the landfill correctly.
Q. What has been your biggest challenge so far?
Staying on schedule—coordinating dozens and dozens of people who are involved, getting them all moving in the right direction at the right time, ensuring the subcontractors, supplier, and service providers on the project have everything they need and their questions answered. To borrow a sports term, we try to have full-court vision—to see not only what’s currently happening, but what’s going to happen. We always have to have the end in mind.
Q. Every major renovation or building project has unanticipated issues that are encountered. What surprises did you encounter?
On any complex project, you should expect the unexpected. When we started this project we didn’t plan on replacing the roof. But, early in the project during a heavy storm, we were faced with major leaking. There was no question—the roof had to go and we added that work to our timeline.
Q. From the project management viewpoint, how is the work progressing?
It’s going very well. But, in our industry, we always say, there are only two good days—the day you get the job and the day it’s successfully completed. We’re looking forward to our next good day.