Operating Engineers Training Center Built from Carpenter Expertise

Who better to create an elite training campus than professionals who have gained their skills through a superior training program of their own?

It takes one to know one, and that unique wrinkle is translating into superior work being delivered to the International Union of Operating Engineers in Crosby Texas by Central South carpenters on behalf of their employers.

Local 551 carpenters are putting versatile skills and specific training to work on the flagship training facility and conference center for the Operating Engineers. Those carpenters are working for general contractor W.S. Bellows and subcontractors Odom ConstructionBrochsteins and Image Flooring on this project.

“We’ve been pleased with Central South’s flexibility and ability to accommodate our needs. We communicated the skills and experience we were looking for and CSCRC did the rest, including designing custom mock-ups to train on,” said Len Haithcock, General Superintendent for Odom Construction.

The 237-acre campus is being created to serve the union’s 400,000 members from the USA and Canada. The campus will include a two-story administration building, a ballroom that can be divided into eight large classrooms, a commercial kitchen, dining facilities, and two attached three-story dormitory wings with 228 rooms. Other buildings on campus will include a mechanic shop, warehouse, central utility plant and health club.

In Las Vegas, the Carpenters International Training Center also has a 200+-acre training campus that includes administration, special event space, classrooms, hospitality, and highly-specialized shops and labs to train its 500,000+ American and Canadian members.    

Every carpenter on the Operating Engineer project has benefitted from the Carpenters’ International Training Center. 

Bellows broke ground on the project in July 2016. Central South concrete formworkers began foundation work in the fall, including columns, slab and deck forms, wall forms, slip forms, gang forms, form hardware, bracing, sheathing and stripping. Crews just for the formwork ranged from 15-27 members.

Interior Systems work with Odom Construction started in November 2016. Work includes installation of the exterior load bearing wall panels, and roofing for the two-story administration building and the two attached three-story dormitory wings. Carpenters are also simultaneously working on the central plant and health club buildings.

While 32 carpenters are now on the jobsite, that need is expected to increase to around 50 as construction amps up.  

When the time comes, Central South carpenters will also staff Brochsteins with crews for the interior finish phase, doing trim work, baseboards, and crown molding. Flooring to be installed for the training and conference center will include carpet tile, roll carpet, sheet vinyl, luxury vinyl tile, and athletic flooring.

“The tentative schedule to start the flooring phase of the project is the middle to end of May 2017 and run through to September,” said Jim Wilkinson, Vice president of Image Flooring. He estimates 2,000 man-hours will be needed to complete the flooring installation.

“We’re looking for crews proficient in working with sheet vinyl and athletic flooring,” said Wilkinson.

To meet those needs, members will receive specialized resilient flooring training as part of the INSTALL flooring training program. That training creates certified experts in engineered products including linoleum, sheet vinyl, vinyl composition tile, luxury vinyl tile, cork and rubber.

Central South’s industry-focused training programs cater to contractors to fit their project needs. For the Operating Engineers project, contractors asked for – and received – training, skills evaluations and mockups for the core components needed for the project. Central South carpenters also completed safety qualifications and training for OSHA 10 and scaffold.

“We are known for delivering the most skilled carpenters to a job site and training makes that happen,” said Local 551 Council Representative, Kenneth Fontenot.

“We believe increased skills equal increased productivity – and this project showcases our ability to provide our partners with the most qualified, experienced, safe and productive carpenters in the industry through quality training.”