My name is Scott Carr and I was the Senior Project Manager for the Construction Manager at the U.S. National Whitewater Center in Charlotte, N.C. Our Firm, Rodgers-Dooley, was responsible for all of the physical work that was done on site. This includes everything from clearing and grubbing, erosion control, grading, pouring the channels and building the buildings—we did it all. This was an exceptionally challenging project but also a very rewarding one. I, in fact, learned to kayak as we were building it and lay claim to being the first person to sit in a kayak in the channels.
Our primary goal on this project was to create the world’s best whitewater park. We went out of our way to be sure that the construction of these channels was as accurate, and of as high a quality as was possible. Having said that, its not like you build whitewater channels every day so we had to rely on Scott Shipley, from S2o to help guide us through the process.
Scott was there every step of the way and virtually lived in Charlotte as the project was being built. Prior to the start of construction we worked with Scott and his design to ensure that we understood the construction documents and specifications as well as the concept he was trying to convey with this facility. Scott also helped us to value-engineer the project to be sure that we were giving the client the best value for their money. As we built the channel Scott was on-site ready to answer questions, help place the stone, or to help clarify a design issue. Shipley’s responsiveness and attention to detail saved our client money, made us much more efficient, taught us how to make structures that would eventually make the whitewater perform as Scott intended in his model.
The best part of the process was the team atmosphere we had all working together and thinking of the best ideas to create a world class whitewater stadium. I think the results really show up in the final product. When it came time t0 perform the initial testing I will never forget the process. Scott Shipley sat in his boat on dry concrete the day we turned on the pumps and slide into the upper pond and paddled each of the channels without every scouting the channels first. He knew all of the hard work we had done together would produce a product that work just like he envisioned and designed in his model. In the end, the client was happy, Scott was happy, and, but for filling in a couple of pinch points that we found on the walk through, we didn’t need to do a thing. Constructing this project and working with Scott was one of the best experiences I have had in my construction career to do date. I would work on another one tomorrow.
- Work with your contractor early. Rodgers was able to save the client a significant amount of money by value engineering the project and by preparing for construction in advance. As an example, we found hundreds of cubic yards of natural stone that was being disposed of for free at another site. We were able to nab this material for free for the USNWC.
- Work with a real engineer when you plan these projects. You want someone who can design in civil-3d and lay out the grading points in surveyor’s format.
- Pick someone who has been successful before. These projects are hard to build and hard to get right—the last thing you want to do is spend the last four weeks of your project trying to fix someone’s mistakes.