Two Multimillion-Dollar Projects Make 2020 a ‘Real Good Year’ for DeSalvo

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — With work wrapped up on two multimillion-dollar projects in the Mahoning Valley this summer, DeSalvo Construction eyes a strong finish to 2020.

Topping the list is the newly opened Shepherd of the Valley 175,000-square-foot retirement community in Liberty Township. Total cost of that project was $31 million.

In Campbell, the Community Literacy, Workforce and Cultural Center opened in August and is already being used by residents. The $14 million building at 436 Struthers Coitsville Road offers a place for residents to take classes, exercise and gather.

The completion of the 70,000-square-foot center was a satisfying end to the two-year project led by the Campbell City School District, says Joseph DeSalvo, president of DeSalvo Construction.

“This was a fun project for our construction team because as we were building it, we could imagine all the lives in the community that would be impacted by this center,” DeSalvo said. “It’s such a nice anchor for the community. That’s going to impact thousands of lives in a very positive way.

The Community Literacy, Workforce and Cultural Center in Campbell opened in August.

Despite a late addition of supplemental mezzanine space brought by an increase in available grant funding early in the project, as well as the challenges of working during the coronavirus pandemic, the construction company was able to finish the project on schedule.

“The collaboration between DeSalvo and their subs was important to our project because it resulted in an on-time delivery. Even during the most difficult of times, we were on schedule,” said Matthew Bowen, superintendent of Campbell City Schools.

The construction team remained flexible and prioritized key decisions to order needed items they knew would take the longest amount of time to get, including a pre-engineered metal building that houses the project’s wellness center. This allowed workers to adapt to the longer than usual lead times, DeSalvo said.

DeSalvo was “in pretty good shape” as far as its supply chain. When the pandemic hit, both the Campbell and Shepherd of the Valley projects were at the stage where the company already had most materials ordered and were in line to receive them, DeSalvo said.

For anything else, the company doubled its anticipated lead times during planning so it received materials on time or even early.

“So, we didn’t really feel that disruption or delay in terms of having materials sent to us,” he said. “It’s an adjustment that we’ve made pretty seamlessly within our organization.”

The community center opened to the public this summer and the Public Library of Youngstown & Mahoning County opened its 3,300-square-foot Campbell branch there Sept. 9. The library was the first partner of the Community Literacy, Workforce and Cultural Center project, said Bowen.

“The library is pleased to be able to bring full library services back to Campbell,” said the library’s executive director, Aimee Fifarek. “As a founding partner in the CLWCC project, the library congratulates Superintendent Matthew Bowen and his team on creating an amazing facility which will bring enormous economic benefits to the area.”

The remainder of the community center includes a bistro, health clinic and space for events, classes and outreach programs including the Valley Me+2 STEM Academy, Southwoods Health, Eastern Gateway Community College and Stark State Community College.

At its peak, the community center project had about 70-plus trades workers on the job for an extended period of time, DeSalvo said. The Shepherd of the Valley project had even more with more than 100 at its peak, which lasted for several months, he said.

“It was a pretty busy place,” he said. The Shepherd project took about 21.5 months to complete, he said.

The Shepherd of the Valley Liberty campus replaces the former Niles campus.

The project initially came in over budget, requiring DeSalvo to work with the owners, architects and engineers to provide timely value engineering services to keep the project within budget and still adhere to the design.

“The cost factor is why many nursing homes were traditionally built in a more stark, clinical style,” DeSalvo said. “Shepherd of the Valley emphasizes a high standard of living for its residents that’s also affordable. It’s challenging to strike that balance when building a project like this but it’s also very rewarding to our team.”

Value engineering achieves a level of cost savings by using different means or methods to achieve the end goal without compromising function or project scope, according to Jim Bayer, vice president of preconstruction services at DeSalvo. Examples can include using different types of bricks or lighting fixtures, he said.

DeSalvo presented more than 40 items to Shepherd of the Valley that provided cost savings, which the company could either approve or deny, Bayer said.

The end result was exactly what Shepherd had envisioned, according to a company release.

“One of the things I like about DeSalvo and the architect is when we look at the design of this project, it’s really like a house. It’s not institutional,” said Rich Limongi, chief executive officer of Shepherd of the Valley.

The new Liberty campus, 1501 Tibbetts Wick Road, replaces the former Niles facility. It’s the largest in terms of square footage but not capacity, providing extra space so residents have more areas to socialize and participate in activities.

Living options include skilled nursing and memory care units, assisted living suites, and one- and two-bedroom apartments for independent living. Amenities include a wellness center, on-site rehab, meeting and game rooms, a salon and spa, a library and multiple outdoor patio areas.

“As we were evaluating and building the project, we imagined how we would feel if one of our family members was getting ready to leave their home and move in,” said DeSalvo’s senior project manager, Mark Dodd. “That motivated us to find ways to achieve the homelike atmosphere while reducing construction costs as much as possible.”

Between the community center and Shepherd of the Valley projects, as well as the new Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC dealership corporate headquarters in Boardman, 2019 “was the single best year in the history of our company by a long shot,” DeSalvo said.

With the end of 2020 closing in, he says those three projects will help it turn out to be “a real good year.” The company is staying busy with a few other projects to finish the year and looks to start a “pretty large project” in January 2021. He declined to go into details, but said it’s going to be a significant project.

“Not quite as big as Shepherd, but it’s a pretty big project,” DeSalvo said. “We look for 2021 to be a pretty strong year for us.”

Overall, DeSalvo is optimistic for the commercial construction industry in general, and expects 2021 to be a strong year for the industry. “I see the activities picking up. Generally, when those activities pick up, it just leads to more work six months down the road.”

Pictured at top: The new Shepherd of the Valley Liberty campus is the largest senior-care facility in the company in terms of square footage.

Copyright 2020 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.