13 Aug KCM Group Readies San Diego City Plans to Reclaim Balboa Park’s Plaza de Panama for Pedestrians.

Construction management firm advising Plaza de Panama project praises San Diego Superior Court decision, which jumpstarts construction with nearly $50 million in city funding

“We’re grateful to be a part of this much-anticipated community effort to improve our city’s crown jewel”

Gordon Kovtun
Principal, KCM Group


After nearly a decade of legal battles, KCM Group, the Plaza de Panama’s construction program manager, today praised a court decision by the San Diego Superior Court, allowing the city of San Diego to release nearly $50 million in funding to remove vehicular traffic from the heart of Balboa Park and return the space to its historic use as pedestrian parkland.

“Every year, a majority of Balboa Park’s 12 million visitors arrive by car from across the country to enjoy the offerings of this nationally recognized landmark. We’re pleased by the decision that helps this vital project get underway to reclaim more than six acres of parkland for pedestrian use and create more room for San Diego residents and visitors,” said Gordon Kovtun, principal at KCM Group. “We’re grateful to be a part of this much-anticipated community effort to improve our city’s crown jewel.”

As a result of the Superior Court decision, the Plaza de Panama project can now move forward. KCM Group will play a major role in the construction of the project for the Plaza de Panama Committee, which is led by Qualcomm Co-founder Dr. Irwin Jacobs and backed by Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer. The result will make the area more pedestrian friendly, improve access, add parking spaces and divert vehicular traffic away from the various plazas at the center of the park. These improvements were approved unanimously by the City Planning Commission and approved twice by the City Council, initially in 2012 and again in 2016.

The project focuses on reclamation of 6.3 acres of existing asphalt for pedestrian use and includes the construction of an underground parking structure behind the Spreckels Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park. The underground structure will provide parking for 800 vehicles, which will increase parking capacity in the park by 350 spaces, and will feature a two-acre rooftop park to include lawns, formal gardens, and various visitor amenities. The Plaza de Panama project will also provide new storm drain, sewer, water, electrical/telecom and landfill upgrades to improve and replace aging park infrastructure. Other improvements include new landscaping, energy efficient lighting enhancements and fully accessible walking surfaces, providing a greater visitor experience for years to come.

To View Plaza de Panama Project Renderings: Click Here

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09 Aug Swamp Coolers Utilize an Ancient Solution to the Modern Air Conditioning Problem for San Diego Warehouses

In East County San Diego where summer temperatures frequently cross the three-digit threshold, keeping electricity bills low is a major challenge for large warehouse stores. While many resign themselves to traditional air conditioning systems that raise the cost of doing business, an ancient technology presents an interesting and efficient solution.

Evaporative cooling, a concept derived from ancient Egypt and Persia thousands of years ago, produces efficient cooling through water evaporation. These ancient communities utilized dampened mats or porous clay pots to turn a hot, dry breeze into moist, cool temperatures. Modern evaporative coolers, also known in North America as “swamp coolers,” pull fresh outdoor air through moist pads where the air is cooled by evaporation and circulated throughout large spaces. Until now, swamp coolers have not been widely adopted outside of extremely arid areas in Arizona and Australia due to complications related to the use and installation.

“With large warehouse stores like Home Depot and Costco, the doors are always open, which can make traditional air conditioners an expensive solution,” says Josh McKeown of KCM Group, a local San Diego construction management company. “Swamp coolers help our clients cut the cost of electricity bills and avoid the expenses of structural and electrical upgrades required to install traditional air conditioning units. Swamp coolers seemed like a risky, temporary solution at first, but it has paid off tremendously and we’ve already installed more of these systems with other projects.”

Compared to traditional cooling systems, the costs to install swamp coolers are typically 20 percent less than air conditioners and use 10 percent less electricity. Swamp coolers are also made of plastic and require no additional structural accommodations, which means they are lighter and will not corrode after ten years (like many traditional air conditioning units).

“What began as an interim fix became a permanent solution as costs were dramatically cut and customer satisfaction remained high as ever. Evaporative cooling is the perfect solution to a complex challenge,” says McKeown, “It’s an option I’ll definitely be recommending again.”

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06 Aug Big News! Comic-Con Museum selects KCM Group as their Construction Management Group

Just a week after tens of thousands of comic, science fiction and movie fans have left Downtown San Diego, KCM Group, a firm of local construction experts, announced it will help keep the experience going year-round by overseeing the construction of the Comic-Con Museum.
Gordon Kovtun, KCM Group President said, “The cultural and economic significance of Comic-Con for our city cannot be understated. We are honored to help build a museum and experience center in San Diego that will capture the magic of Comic-Con 365-days-a-year.”
Adam Smith, Comic-Con Museum Executive Director said, “The Museum is still in its early stages but we wanted to recruit a specialist project manager as soon as possible. KCM Group brings a lot of construction experience in San Diego, and Balboa Park in particular.”

KCM Group will be responsible for managing the build-out of a three-story, 68,000 square-foot space that will replace the former San Diego Hall of Champions in Balboa Park. The project is currently in the conceptual design and fundraising phase. 
Comic-Con retained KCM Group to manage the design, permitting and construction of this complex project, which will require the highest-level of coordination to become a reality. KCM Group will assist in program development, budgeting and scheduling of the construction-related efforts and conduct a review of the building and its surrounding areas.  KCM Group will also help coordinate communications between the Comic-Con Museum, City of San Diego Parks and Recreation and other stakeholders.

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30 Jul San Diego Union Tribune Spotlights KCM’s Role in Plaza de Panama

The San Diego Union Tribune publishes piece with input from Gordon Kovtun and various civic leaders here: https://bit.ly/2LOqV1G

“The revitilization of the Plaza de Panama is going to be the biggest investment Balboa Park has seen in decades and transform the plaza to its original splendor with acres of new park space for the public to enjoy.”

Craig Gustafson
Spokesman, Mayor’s Office

“Projects like the Plaza de Panama in Balboa Park bring great benefits for San Diego. We are proud of the opportunity to work with the City of San Diego on the Plaza de Panama renovation and our continuing efforts to positively impact our community. We hope this, and more projects like it, move forward.”

Gordon Kovtun
Principal, KCM Group


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27 Jul KCM Group plays critical role in advancing key Balboa Park project

Read the latest news on the Plaza de Panama project from the Voice of San Diego with input from Gordon Kovtun and various civic leaders here: https://bit.ly/2AjzFIu

“Projects like the Plaza de Panama in Balboa Park bring great benefits for San Diego. We are proud of the opportunity to work with the City of San Diego on the Plaza de Panama renovation and our continuing efforts to positively impact our community. We hope this, and more projects like it, move forward.”

Gordon Kovtun
Principal, KCM Group

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16 Feb KCM Group helps spearhead homeless initiative in San Diego

KCM Group, One San Diego, Jerome’s Furniture & Mayor Kevin Faulconer teamed up to provide household items & furniture to homeless families recently transitioning from bridge shelters at the Alpha Project to permanent housing. For more information watch the live KUSI coverage in the link below: http://www.kusi.com/one-san-diego-donation-drive-homeless-shelters/

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14 Dec California Stormwater and Erosion Control Industry Changes

In July, the State Water Resources Control Board fined the City of San Diego $4.6 million for non-compliance on stormwater, erosion and sedimentation control measures.

Next year, the State Water Board will issue an update to the California Construction General Permit that will completely change the rules for how construction sites and companies deal with stormwater- and erosion-related discharges into bodies of water. Currently, the permit rules attempt to curtail stormwater runoff and erosion that dislodge pieces of earth that can affect fish gills, beaches and water color (browning). The current permitting program has been administratively extended year after year since 2009.

While the Construction General Permit update specifics are unknown, the changes will be the first major set of changes of the Water Board under its new executive director, Eileen Sobeck. Sobeck, who joined the board after the Labor Day holiday weekend, will effectively oversee changes to the Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) that regulates all potential pollutants.

These SWPPP regulations have become so complicated that many San Diego builders, developers, and construction firms now need the expertise of construction management firms with stormwater compliance experience to help navigate municipal codes and develop, implement and oversee stormwater- and erosion-control best management practices (BMPs) as licensed qualified SWPPP developers (QSDs) and qualified SWPPP practitioners (QSPs). It is quite possible that the update will serve as another complication that will increase this business trend.

Since the San Diego construction industry began booming after 2010, which was stymied by the Great Recession, many construction firms have seen an abundance of growth as QSDs and QSPs.  San Diego firm KCM Group, which is currently responsible for managing the Plaza de Panama Balboa Park project, is currently managing nearly 40 projects (as a QSP and QSD) that require stormwater and erosion-compliance.

Erika Horn – Senior Environmental Compliance Manager at KCM Group

At KCM Group Erika serves as an experienced environmental compliance manager, who specializes in environmental compliance programs for land development. Erika coordinates and provides specialized storm water training for land development personnel, construction superintendents and sub-contractors. Erika is a QSP, QSD, Certified Erosion Sediment and Storm Water Inspector (CESSWI) and a Certified Professional of Erosion and Sediment Control (CPESC). Erika is active in the California Storm Water Quality Association (CASQA), the Building Industry Association (BIA) and the International Erosion Control Association (IECA). She currently serves on the San Diego BIA’s Storm Water Task Force.

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14 Dec San Diego Staple Hope-Admundson Merges with Nationwide Coffman Engineers

Hope-Admundson, a local company that was built on over 80 years of family history in the San Diego area, has merged with Coffman Engineers. Since 1993, Hope-Admundson has served as an architectural and engineering staple in the San Diego region specializing in building commercial, education, government, healthcare, life science, mixed-use and parking structures.

Before closing its doors on November 1, Hope-Amundson announced that their structural engineering services will not change. Their staff of 33, which includes 19-licensed engineers, will join a broader network of engineers that provide more engineering services, including structural, civil, mechanical, electrical and fire protection engineering services originally offered by Coffman. Their offices in downtown San Diego and Newport Beach, California, will also join the nationwide Coffman network of 12 offices serving clients across the United States and overseas.

In an announcement on the updated website Jim Admundson stated, “The best deals are the win-win. We will strategically help Coffman with their Southern California presence and for Hope-Amundson, this allows us to join a larger firm, offer our clients more services, and look for opportunities in other areas.”

The addition of Hope-Admundson office in San Diego comes during an exciting time of growth for Coffman as they are also strategically increasing their presence on the East Coast which includes the addition of a new office in the Washington, D.C. metro area in May 2017.

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14 Dec San Diego’s Prized Family Business, Jerome’s Furniture Opens New Location in Moreno Valley

In November, Jerome’s Furniture, San Diego’s most prized family-owned business, opened the doors to its newest showroom in the second largest city in Riverside County, Moreno Valley. City of Moreno Valley Mayor Yxstian Alberto Gutierrez and other community leaders joined the Navarra family, the owners of Jerome’s Furniture, and attended the grand opening event across from the Towngate Crossing Shopping Center off the Pomona Freeway.

“The location is ideal, and the market is deserving of a furniture retailer that puts customers first,” said Adrienne Navarra, senior vice president of Jerome’s Furniture in Furniture Today. “We’re doing so with an experience that places the heritage and warmth of our family business at the forefront. The showroom’s layout, design and customer interaction emphasizes our family of employees and the many people behind Jerome’s.”

Josh McKeown, a project manager with KCM Group, oversaw the Jerome’s Furniture project which involved the renovation of an existing 40,000 square-foot retail location at a total construction cost of just over one million dollars.  McKeown worked closely with the Navarra family to convert the space which was previously occupied by Sports Authority, a sporting goods retailer, into a Jerome’s Furniture showroom. The conversion included a new floor, wall finishes, interior partitions, millwork, mechanical systems and new energy-efficient LED fixtures.  An 8-year veteran with KCM Group, McKeown has many years of experience working for large commercial general contractors in both Texas and San Diego, which was critical to successfully opening the store under a tight two-month deadline.

“It was an honor to serve as project manager and advocate for the Navarra family on this project,” said McKeown. “They’re a San Diego staple and a big supporter of so much in our community. I’m proud of how we were able to finish this project on-budget and in time for the holiday season. Cheers to more families enjoying a comfortable couch at home during the holidays.”

With this Jerome’s Furniture project, McKeown worked directly with the general contractor, Halstead Construction, the architect, Gkkworks, and their subcontractors on behalf of the Navarra family.  The project had a very aggressive schedule and needed to be completed in less than 3 months to be open in time for Thanksgiving.

The latest Moreno Valley store at 12500 Day Street includes the company’s new warm warehouse concept which boasts of a very modern and industrial look and includes design elements such as polished concrete flooring, metal casework and a neutral color palette throughout the 40,300 square feet of showroom space. The new location will serve residents in Moreno Valley, Perris, Sun City, Hemet, Banning, Beaumont as well as the Eastern communities of Box Springs, Canyon Crest, Orange Crest, and Mission Grove. This Jerome’s Furniture showroom is the 14th store among other store locations in San Diego, Riverside, the Inland Empire, Orange County and Greater Los Angeles area.

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