Pacific alumnus recognized for construction innovation
Chris Madill ’90 takes immense pride in the construction projects he leads on his alma mater’s campuses.
The past few years have been busy for Madill and his team with a library renovation, the opening of a student residence facility and changes on the University of the Pacific’s Sacramento Campus to accommodate the new School of Health Sciences.
The building industry has taken note of his work. Madill, director of planning and construction management at Pacific, is featured in American Builders Quarterly.
Among other platitudes, the publication wrote, “Under his direction, the library is now an active and vibrant space for students of all different programs to connect and collaborate, enhancing their experience through this cross-pollination.”
“I am very appreciative of the recognition, not just for myself but for everyone who collaborates on building projects at the university,” he said. “We truly have team efforts.”
The renovation of the William Knox Holt Memorial Library and Learning Center on the Stockton Campus is an example. The four-year project was on time and considerably under initial budget projections. University Librarian Mary Somerville said Madill deserves much of the credit.
“Chris Madill ensured visionary student-centered facility design and construction. How best to build spaces that further student aspirations? Ask students, of course,” Somerville said. “So Chris initiated inclusive ways to collect student feedback, ranging from space utilization to furniture style.”
Madill returns the praise. “Mary was inspirational to work with, from start to finish. The focus was on student engagement, collaboration and success.”
The library dedication is delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It had been scheduled for mid-March.
“It was hard for everyone involved to bring work to a point where we could deliver the project to Pacific Libraries, only to have everything stop,” Madill said. “I am grateful that students could enjoy the first phase before campus was closed. Moving forward, this is going to be a great space for Pacific.”
Madill and Somerville concurred on the importance of open space. As it turned out, that should help with social distancing when campus re-opens.
“Because we opened up space and had seating dividers and other furniture solutions, it actually worked to our advantage for safety concerns,” he said.
“Illustrative of the extraordinary outcomes, the Multi-Faith Meditation and Prayer Area was designated to foster exploration of beliefs and traditions,” Somerville said. “When classes resume in the fall, people from various religious, spiritual, and philosophical traditions will experience grounding and renewal through individual and communal prayer, meditation, and reflection.
The library will include a new Starbucks café. An old entrance on the library’s north side also will be re-opened.
“There was a lot of soft-scape and overgrowth there. I turned that project over to Toby Rose and the grounds crew and they are doing a wonderful job with it,” Madill said. “They are on target to deliver the plaza area on time. I think people really will enjoy it.”
Madill updated some other current or recent construction projects:
- Sacramento Campus: Work has been ongoing in the Muddox Building for Pacific’s new School of Health Sciences. “We have relocated some services, activated classroom and lab space and plan to hand the project over in July,” Madill said
- Calaveras Hall: The residence facility on the north side of the Stockton Campus, across the Calaveras River, has been open for two years and Madill said, “I have heard lots of positives. They have been at 100 percent occupancy.”
- Grace Covell Hall: Construction was deemed an “essential service” during the pandemic, allowing work to continue on the renovation of Grace Covell Hall—with proper social distancing. “We lost some time at the beginning as the country, state and county wrapped itself around what would be considered essential,” Madill said. “But then we were able to get back to work. We worked on the first and third floors to social distance, and then went back to the second floor.”