Behind the scenes with Whiting-Turner

Roby Hill
June 17, 2022
The spring 2022 issue of The Distillate is now out! Here is an excerpt.

Building a house is complicated. Building a new facility as a part of major renovation effort involving dozens of companies, across multiple buildings, during two years, affecting thousands of students, patients, faculty, staff, workers, and families, and all during a global pandemic is...mind-boggling.

As general contractor, the Whiting-Turner Company has overseen the project. To get a closer look at what goes on with a project of this magnitude, here is a quick Q-and-A with the wizards of Whiting-Turner:

Q:What are some of the things you have to watch out for during construction?

A:Charleston is a very historic city and there is no telling what you’ll find once you start to dig. MUSC had an archaeologist on call who was able to coach us on what to look for and what to do if we came across anything that appeared to be of cultural interest.

Q: Find anything interesting?

A: I’m glad to say that we didn’t. We like boring. Boring means we can keep going. On this site we only found some old bottles and pottery, which the archaeologist confirmed were not historically significant.

Q: What were some of the difficulties you encountered?

A: We could have run into some real complications, seeing as the facility is placed between two buildings and straddles a utility tunnel. But we were able to move the utilities with limited impact on Basic Science and then put in the new foundations into that space. The biggest thing was probably the impact on campus but people were great about working with us and being resilient to the chaos that construction necessarily brings.

Q: Did the pandemic or weather offer serious challenges?

A: The biggest challenge from the pandemic was probably supply chain issues. We spent a lot of time ordering things early to minimize problems. And we were lucky we didn’t have a serious hurricane!