Kiewit Building Group – Kiewit University Training & Education Center
Kiewit has one of the most impressive internal corporate training models in the industry. This employee-owned company is among the largest contractors in the world, and Kiewit University trains over 3,000 learners annually. Hundreds of the firm’s 22,000 employees come from across the US, Canada and Mexico to their new $50M, 62,000 SF training center for Innovation, Learning and Leadership classes.
The new training center features a variety of technology-intensive spaces, including an auditorium, large and small classrooms, breakout rooms, and conference rooms. A large, retractable interactive video wall in the lobby provides students and staff with a vivid, informative greeting as they enter. A building-wide digital signage with a web-based room scheduling system gets them where they want to go. The 200-seat auditorium contains a triple projection system plus a fixed-frame projection screen integrated into the front wall with three additional ceiling-mounted projectors. The significant AV budget enabled the outfitting of a variety of technology-intensive spaces, including eight active learning classrooms, dozens of breakout rooms and huddle spaces, plus executive conference rooms.
Project goals included
1. Collaborative spaces: highly collaborative spaces were needed throughout
2. Socialization & networking: learners desired varying types of spaces for interaction
3. Classrooms needs: all classroom spaces had to be technology-rich and flexible
We encouraged Kiewit to think beyond “what is now” to “what could be.” That is reflected in the innovative approach to the technology systems and infrastructure design. The underlying technology infrastructure is AV-over-IP based — and is truly innovative. The entire AV system is IP-based transport (SVSi), and functions entirely on Kiewit’s converged network. All devices are addressable. As devices are connected, the control system recognizes and adapts to the needs of users. This “Software-Defined Audiovisual System” accesses nearly 350 data-drops just for AV. Transporting virtually any kind of media and control streams from any room to another via the network is as simple as plugging in the device – even if that room is on the other side of the world.
A fleet of mobile display carts was created for use in any of the multiple active learning classrooms or with the main display. These carts don’t even have to go into the same room or plug into the same floor box/wall plate every time. As carts connect, they automatically register with the AV/control system, which “sees” which cart is where and populates the current rooms’ touch panel with the carts as a source. IP-based transport is the magic. Everything audiovisual is just an endpoint — system design now lives in the software. Add lightweight, movable lecterns, and Kiewit now has among the most flexible training spaces and systems in existence.
Underpinning their desire for a showpiece of a facility, Kiewit also has a heritage of being wise and modest with their resources. As such, the new space had to reflect that heritage, and so the objective was not to visually overpower with flashy AV, but to deliver a responsible, technology-rich environment enabling significant functionality. Key directives from the owner were to create a flexible, easily reconfigurable, and user-friendly facility. Through its visionary applications of technology and an intrinsic understanding of pedagogy, The Sextant Group delivered Kiewit that desired flexible, reconfigurable, user-friendly corporate training center in a very short timeframe. These new systems and spaces enable Kiewit to immerse their trainees in effective, active, team-based learning.
With such a massive amount of content being transported, one might be concerned about crashing the client’s network, but that was not an issue. A combination of SVSi encoder/decoders and controllers, a QSC Q-sys core with expanders, Mersive Solstice pods and Crestron control processors and touch panels were used to create the advanced, flexible system Kiewit had envisioned. Once properly configured to SVSi’s recommendations and spec, it worked like a charm.
Kiewit University was The Sextant Group’s first substantial design of video/audio routing and system control that was fully integrated with the owner’s building network. This approach was revolutionary when the design began – but in the three years while the project was in design, it progressively became just the way to do things.
The company calls the training center the cornerstone of its educational programming, and an investment in the company’s home city of Omaha.
Kiewit University was honored as a finalist by AV Magazine’s 20th annual International AV Awards.