USACE, Fort Buchanan | Puerto Rico
Merrick & Company is providing full master planning, design and permitting services for a new residential subdivision and Neighborhood Park on Fort Buchanan, Puerto Rico. The project is to provide a new master plan and construction documents for a 26 lot residential subdivision for the service men and women stationed on Fort Bucahanan. The project is replacing outdated and substandard housing in the Coconut Grove neighborhood. Merrick provided four concept master plans that were reviewed and evaluated at a multi-day charrette held on Fort Buchanan. A preferred alternative was selected, which was refined and advanced into 95% design drawings.
Merrick provided a multi-disciplinary team that designed all aspects of the project. The services provided on this project are relevant because they involve master plan alternatives that are evaluated by the client and various end users. A preferred alternative was selected and advanced into construction documents. In this case, we were master planning a neighborhood and a park. Both of these project elements are part of the overall project. The park itself was designed with the end user in mind, incorporating indigenous plant material into the design. The scope of the park included open fields, picnic areas, a half basketball court, two playgrounds for differing age groups, a bus shelter, and passive walking trails that connected to the neighborhood.
UNIQUE PROJECT FEATURE: A rare opportunity to create a new neighborhood and park for the active duty officers and enlisted personnel of Fort Buchanan. The project razed the existing military housing that was substandard and in disrepair as part of the relief effort for Puerto Rico. This project’s uniqueness was that we were actively working to plan, design, and build a new neighborhood and park for the men and women who serve our country. The project challenge was finding a way to meet the requirements of the government’s construction budget and also meet the expectations of Fort Buchanan. It is fairly common for a client to desire more than their budget allows. In this instance, two federal agencies represented on one hand by USACE and Fort Buchanan on the other, had to come to terms with how to proceed. USACE was in charge of the project, and were held to the congressionally mandated budget. Fort Buchanan’s wish list end up being outside of their budget. We found ourselves between two strong willed entities. In that position, our team provided cost saving measures, including: revisions to the site design, utilizing some existing infrastructure and seeking a second opinion on the soils report which had required significant foundations for the new homes due to expansive soils. Through those efforts we were able to reduce the project cost by several million dollars and bring it in line with the budget.