The faces behind the North Campus Expansion

Catherine Silvestri, Staff Writer

Urban’s North Campus Expansion expansion is underway and Urban students, parents, faculty, and the 129 rising freshmen are eagerly anticipating its opening. Meanwhile, the team from Plant Construction works long hours to complete the 63,000 square foot facility for the fall of 2016. Plant Construction has been working on the Oak Street project since the initial blueprints and has about 50-100 staff workers on-site alongside the superintendents and the project manager every day. Each person, from the labor foreman to the electrician, has an important role to play in successfully building and completing Urban’s Academic and Athletic Center.


SCOTT OATS: Plant Superintendent

Scott Oats first stepped foot at Urban in 1984, when he was working on the Urban building beside the Gumption. He has continued to work with Urban in the past thirty-two years for various projects. Today, Oats is a superintendent at Plant Construction, which entails organizing traffic control, permits, and access to streets. This was initially was a large issue, however, Oats explained that this situation was familiar because of the busy streets and close corridors. He has been involved with the expansion for the past 2-3 years. Oats explained that he prefers to work with schools over other buildings because he likes the type of construction and the customers more.

MARK DECKER: Assistant superintendent

Mark Decker, the assistant superintendent is the layout coordinator, meaning he interprets the layouts and makes the grid lines on the floor. Decker has been in the construction business for 45 years and has worked on various projects, but his favorite are “high-end finishers,” like the penthouse at the Millennium Tower, or a mansion in Belvedere. Decker began working on the project in August 2015 and said that the job is a constant challenge, and he is constantly solving problems. Additionally, the tight timeline has raised another issue for the construction, so Decker explained that the keeping the subcontractors on track and the workers on time is key to a timely finish.

DIEGO PEREZ: Labor Foreman

Diego Perez, called the “backbone” of this project by his co-workers, has been working on Urban’s project since the beginning as the labor foreman, which entails overseeing safety precautions and making sure that materials arrive and deliver on time. On average, he works six days a week from about 7:30 to 5:30. Although this is Perez’s first school building construction, he said he enjoys it because he likes making things for kids. Perez said that every day is a challenge, and he particularly stresses safety on the job.


Juan Gutierrez, who runs the electrical side of the building, makes sure the lights, plugs, fixtures, smartboards, fire alarms, and security all work. His previous worked has included apartments in Sunnyvale, projects at Stanford and even the expansion of the Bay Bridge. Gutierrez began in August when the house was carefully shifted over, and will be there in September when it opens to turn on every light. His favorite part of the job is all of the high-end finishes, which includes LED lighting, state of the art smart boards, fancy fixtures, and occupancy sensors. There is a large emphasis on being eco-friendly, in particularly with  the electricity. Since the building falls under a new law, Title 24, there are several requirements for the building in order to ensure it is more efficient and the systems are eco-friendly. Gutierrez said that this project is one of the most difficult he has worked on because of its tight corridors, more elaborate designs, and high-end finishes.

BUBBY MROSKEY: Project Manager

Bubby Mroskey, the project manager is in charge of making sure everyone is on task and being the liaison between Plant and Urban. Mroskey started in April of 2015 and was put on the project by Plant. He said that this project in particular raises its own challenges, one being that all four sides are surrounded by other buildings, or that it is adjacent to a busy street. At the beginning of the project, the city was going to restrict Plant to only close one lane for a certain amount of hours a day, but Mroskey said that would not have worked with the tight time crunch. Mroskey said one of the best things about the project is the site office, which is the house that was moved over the summer and converted into an office for the duration of the construction.