International Residence Hall - Pigeon Forge

Case Study

Project Scope

Holtz Builders contracted with the Owner, IRH Pigeon Forge LLC, under a lump sum Prime Contract. This unique, U-shaped building had the primary intent to provide 756 student-housing beds and three executive suites with common necessities on each residential floor.

Floor 1 was designed to allow the future development of retail and office space while also creating a welcoming, safe, and efficient reception area for student entry, while floors 2-4 each held their own laundry room, living room, and kitchen along, with 252 student-housing beds. Structural building materials included concrete foundations with rebar reinforcement, precast hollow core planks, structural steel columns and beams, and stick framing. The vast variety of materials involved, matched with a tight schedule required weekly coordination meetings between all subcontractors.

Type of Construction: Commercial construction
Length of Project: 6 Months
Size of Addition: 141,612 SF, 4 Stories

Project Details

Holtz Builders began construction on September 15, 2021 and had a firm deadline to move-in students before the busy 2022 summer season; this allotted 199 workweek days. Throughout construction, we had a total of 42 missed workdays due to weather, which ultimately brought our total available workweek days down to 157. There was zero self-performed labor on this project. The Holtz Builders Project Management Team worked closely with their trusted vendors and subcontractors to substantially staff construction and support the tight schedule. Due to pure grit and determination of our construction team, we were able to turn over the building and begin moving students in three days early.

Developed during a global pandemic where relationships were harder than ever to foster, Holtz Builders, Inc. and their construction team showed grit and unwavering determination to support the community of Pigeon Forge, TN. Often referred to as the “Gateway to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park” lies Sevier County, Tennessee. Sevierville, Pigeon Forge, and Gatlinburg are home to over 98,000 residents and almost 2,900 businesses. With over 14.1 million annual visitors to the National Park, Sevier County is a natural tourist destination with a booming economy.

Recording over 4,000 employees, local theme park Dollywood stands alone as the largest employer in Sevier County and the 10th largest employer in Eastern Tennessee.  While the majority of theme park employees live locally, Dollywood collaborates with International-Student Cultural Exchange Visa programs to host men and women from across the globe. In years past, students have been somewhat on their own to secure housing for their time in the States. This left many students far from work and without reliable transportation. IRH Pigeon Forge, LLC. and Dollywood partnered up to provide not only a more convenient place to live for these students, but also a safe place they could call a “home away from home.”

The Challenges

While construction in the mountains has its expected site obstacles, this jobsite proved to be uniquely challenging across multiple facades.

Before construction began, this land served as a laydown yard for Dollywood’s maintenance department. In order to accommodate Dollywood’s growing need for storage space, we had to cut the top off a mountain and haul +200,000 cubic yards of fill to our jobsite. This effectively provided a new laydown yard for Dollywood and raised our jobsite grade up 28ft of fill on the backside and 15 feet of fill for the building. Through doing this, we had to create a temporary haul road between the new laydown yard and our jobsite. This haul road had significant safety challenges, as it was located within very close proximity to a theme park roller coaster. We had to take additional safety measures to install layers of GeoMat within the dirt work and collaborate with Dollywood Maintenance and Security to ensure 24/7 emergency vehicle access and safety escape routes for the roller coaster.

Fun Fact: Adjacent to our jobsite was home to the American Eagle Foundation. This location held a variety of birds, including the Bald Eagle. Primarily throughout the earthwork stage of construction, Holtz Builders regularly communicated with the American Eagle Foundation to ensure that any loud machinery or construction activity did not disturb the birds.

Our Solution

Holtz Builders concentrated on the timely distribution and availability of information to our project team. In preparation for this project and all to follow, our executive team brought on Procore as HBI’s official Construction Management Program.

Procore streamlined many of our back-office processes, as well as our means and methods of communication to the construction team. We utilized Procore tools such as Project Directory, Submittals, RFI’s, Schedule, Daily Logs, Drawings, and Punch List. Subcontractors were able to get live status updates on their open items, as well as access many other tools to assist with completion of their scope of work. Procore was a vital aspect of our teams’ success and ensured documentation, distribution, and follow up in a timely manner.

A home away from home.

IRH Pigeon Forge Residence Halls Employee Housing