October 14, 2020

Terracon Prepares for 100-Year Anniversary with Major Office Renovation

For nearly a century, Terracon’s Cincinnati office has provided engineering services to clients throughout the Ohio/Kentucky/Indiana region. Founded as the H.C. Nutting Company in 1921, the office became part of Terracon in 2007. Today the team numbers more than 150 employees and specializes in environmental, facilities, geotechnical, and construction materials services.

With the organization’s 100-year anniversary right around the corner, the team realized an office refresh was needed. After 20 years of use, their facility was beginning to show its age. Wallcoverings were peeling, carpets were coming up, lighting and audio/visual capabilities were dated, some of the mechanical systems were approaching the end of life, and additional offices were needed for growth.  The environment was simply not conducive to kicking off the next 100 years in business.

A Fresh Perspective
As the work got underway, the team realized it wasn’t just the finishes that required an update.

“Our four service lines are in separate corners of our building, and the layout wasn’t conducive to collaboration. The renovation was an opportunity to improve the connections between our teams,” said Office Manager Ron Lech, PE.

From there, the possibilities began to flow. The front vestibule needed both structural and security improvements. The team had grown in the past 20 years, and more offices were needed. Field staff were also often in and out, but there was no convenient, dedicated place for them to sit and do reporting before returning to the field. Rethinking the layout also gave rise to the idea for an open “family room” in the center of the office where team members could share food and time.

The Grocery List
Terracon quickly brought Miller-Valentine Construction on board to assist with the project. The choice was an easy one: Miller-Valentine built Terracon’s original office. The project team helped Terracon define and put numbers to their “needs” and “wants,” creating what we call a “grocery list” of options. This enabled the client to see how different selections would affect their budget and scope.

“Miller-Valentine made it easy to consider all of the alternatives so that we could make a more informed choice between our wants and our must-haves,” Lech said.

Based on this exercise, the team was able to reach a consensus on the final concept with confidence. When construction is completed in December 2020, the team will have new private offices for future growth, upgrades to meeting rooms, a complete replacement of the entry lobby, restroom upgrades, and an open common social space in the center of the plan. New work environments such as huddle rooms and a touch-down area for field technicians will be included. In addition, the team will expand its laboratory testing services by reclaiming storage space after digitizing nearly 100 years of paper files.

Bridging the Past and the Future
The renovation will also include space for a timeline display that will highlight important projects and artifacts from the team’s 100-year history. A digital interactive board with archive data will be integrated into the display. At a time when the coronavirus pandemic has created so many questions about the future, the timeline will provide employees, customers, and project partners with a connection to the past.

“We are very proud of our history, our relationships with our clients, and the opportunities we have had to improve communities and lives,” said Lech. “Our employees have made significant contributions to advance our professions, and we are blessed with a wealth of historical knowledge and experience.”

The team hopes to show off the redesigned space as part of its 100-year anniversary celebration next year. What shape those plans take will depend on coronavirus restrictions. Regardless, the team will be ready for the next century with an office that better reflects and supports their culture.

“We’ll have room for growth, a space that supports collaboration, and an environment that’s more inviting to work in,” said Lech. “It will be a place that our current and prospective employees will want to be part of for the rest of their career.”

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