Muhlenberg College - Seegers Union Building Addition and Renovations

Allentown, PA
Muhlenberg College
Alvin H. Butz, Inc.
$15.6 Million

The complicated phasing plan and constantly changing building operation schedule required very careful consideration between spending money on means and methods, which would detract from project scope, and making sure the project was completed on schedule without disruption to the project stakeholders. 

The need to improve the Dining and Student Life facilities was put on Muhlenberg College's priority list ten years ago. Due to the complexity of providing uninterrupted service of 6,000 daily meals, continuous operation of the loading dock serving both kitchen and bookstore and lacking funds to build duplicate facilities during the construction period, Muhlenberg did not imagine this project was possible. The Butz team developed a Construction Management plan that built the addition over a year then deconstructed and reconstructed the entire production kitchen, constructed new toilet rooms and a great room in 12 weeks during the only allowed break in the meal service plan in the final summer.  The college also requested the team allow certain portions of the building to be partially occupied during this major summer shut down.  This was especially difficult as noise, dust control and safety for the building occupants had to be considered while completing a near impossible schedule.


The project demanded unique approaches to ensure successful schedule implementation and an uncompromised “student experience". These were incorporated in all aspects of the Project Management Plan, Schedule, Sustainability, Cost Control and Safety.

  • Larger projects broken up into numerous mini-projects to shorten durations.
  • Major rework within the existing primary mechanical/electrical room was presented on design drawings as “start-here-and-end-there”.  The team reworked electrical switchgear, worked closely with the HVAC contractor to custom fabricate a HW pump and Heat Exchanger skid that allowed for demolition and re-installation over the same equipment foot-print in a one week period.
  • Exposed timber trusses were sub-assembled on the deck of the main Dining Hall addition due to site constraints.
  • The demolition contractor employed local Amish labor who recycled and reused major kitchen equipment in their community centers. This effort also provided a source for the composted kitchen waste that was generated by the Somat pumping system.
  • Architectural drawings drawn in Revit 3D model and structural and MEP coordination drawings in 3D compared for clash detection. The MEP coordination sessions done via Citrix Go-To-Meeting, kept travel to a minimum, increased accuracy and effectiveness, reduced approval time, field conflicts and change orders.
  • Electronic information submission. 

We selected your construction management company because we had an extremely tight budget and near impossible time schedule.   

Involving Butz's people during the Conceptual design phase was extremely beneficial with budgeting and phasing.  Because of your involvement early in the project we were able to achieve the maximum amount of scope for our budget.  Your team worked closely with our Architects and Engineers to ensure the necessary value engineering and critical phasing elements were incorporated into  the final construction documents.   We were confident we had selected the right construction management team when we saw how smoothly Butz handled the coordination of the engineers, architects and trades people. 

Your team's commitment to working around the building's demanding schedule and your ability to remain flexible with  your schedule to accommodate our constantly changing program was very much appreciated. We truly  appreciated your team's  special commitment to the stakeholders on campus especially making the project a part of Muhlenberg College's learning environment and communicating progress to the entire  campus. 

Mr. David Rabold

Muhlenberg College