Created on Tuesday, 07 May 2013 Written by THE BELLEFONTAINE EXAMINER STAFF
BLUFFTON —Thomas & Marker Construction Co., the general contractor for Bluffton University’s new Sommer Center for Health and Fitness Education, has been recognized by the Ohio Valley Chapter of Associated Builders & Contractors for its work on the project.
ABOVE: A view of Bluffton University’s new Sommer Center for Health and Fitness Education. Thomas & Marker Construction Co., the general contractor, has been recognized by the Ohio Valley Chapter of Associated Builders & Contractors for its work on the project. BELOW: The Sommer Center includes a new 1,500-seat home for intercollegiate basketball and volleyball, Copeland Center, named for Larry and Shirley Copeland. PHOTOS | TM
The chapter gave the Bellefontaine-based company its highest honor for excellence in construction, the Eagle Award.
Thomas & Marker worked with the university for more than 15 months to deliver the 60,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility.
Prior to construction, 18,000 cubic yards of fill dirt were imported to make the former flood plain into a buildable site. The team then installed footers measuring nine feet wide and two feet thick. The building’s concrete walls are 16 feet tall and 18 inches thick, and support 153-foot steel trusses that weigh more than 25,000 pounds each.
The $14.7 million Sommer Center is named for the central Illinois family that gave the lead gift for its construction just north of Marbeck Center. A campus master plan adopted by the university’s board of trustees in November 2000 determined both the site and the high priority for the building.
The Sommer Center provides needed space for Bluffton’s growing academic department of health, fitness and sport science; a 1,500-seat venue, plus locker and team rooms, for intercollegiate volleyball and basketball; fitness and weight training facilities, an indoor walking/jogging track and spaces for the popular intramurals program, all of which benefit all students; a sports medicine center, with an exam room and offices for physicians and trainers; space for physical rehabilitation, including hydrotherapy; dedicated areas for treatment and taping; the multipurpose Reichenbach Room, used for classes, meetings and special events; administrative offices for athletics; and new Athletics Hall of Fame displays.
Money from a $32.7 million multi-year fundraising program paid for the project.
Thomas & Marker’s many building projects at Bluffton have also included Centennial Hall and, most recently before the Sommer Center, summer 2010 improvements to College Hall, Musselman Library and the Burcky Gym locker complex.