Woodruff Construction specializes in diverse projects.
By Kat Zeman, Senior Editor at Knighthouse Media
Operating under a lean business philosophy, Woodruff Construction specializes in design/build, construction management and project development services in Iowa.
The Fort Dodge, Iowa-based company is known for its work in a number of different sectors including commercial, educational, healthcare, senior living, warehouse, water/wastewater treatment, office and retail. It recently completed work on a children’s hospital, water treatment facility and elementary school, and has a number of other projects on the horizon.
“We try to be diverse,” says Nick Ford, regional president. “We have crews that specialize in different sectors.”
One of the company’s largest project to date was the University of Iowa Stead Family Children's Hospital, completed last year.
Woodruff provided a variety of finishes for the project including flooring, paint, wall covers and specialty tiles. “It was one of our biggest projects in terms of dollar amount,” Ford says. “It was $24 million for our portion of the project, but the overall project was about $400 million.”
Woodruff doesn’t shy away from challenging projects. One of its recent high-profile projects involved the new Marion Longfellow Elementary School in Marion, Iowa. The $9 million project required installing a geothermal central heating and cooling system that transfers heat to or from the ground. The system uses the earth as a heat source or heat sink.
The project, completed last year, was a finalist for the Master Builders of Iowa Masters Award that recognizes exceptional efforts in construction.
“It was a challenging project,” Ford says. “We had a challenging construction schedule and worked through unexpected difficulties. But it was a great team effort between us, the school district and OPN Architects in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.”
Another challenging project involved a wastewater treatment facility for the city of Hills, Iowa. Completed this year, the project involved installing a new ultraviolet (UV) treatment system that purifies water as it runs through a stainless-steel chamber or reactor that contains a special UV-producing lamp. Woodruff also built several wastewater lagoons to promote the biological oxidation of wastewater.
“The challenge was working though adverse weather conditions before the winter set it,” Ford says. “The city installed a new water treatment system the previous year. This was the final stage. We worked as a partner with Dave Schmitt Construction on both of these projects to complete update the city’s water and wastewater systems.”
On The Horizon
Woodruff is finishing work on a $10 million renovation project that involves a new dental clinic for U.S. veterans. Located in Iowa City, the project required converting an existing two-story building that used to house a post office into the dental clinic. The renovation project started in fall 2017 and is targeted for completion this fall.
“We opened up a huge space inside ground level of the building,” Ford says. “There are many functions served in the facility – including 13 different dental exam rooms – and we brought in their specialized dental equipment.”
Breaking ground this summer is another high-profile project that calls for an 50,000-square-foot addition to an existing manufacturing facility owned by Marshalltown Company in Marshalltown, Iowa. The company makes
construction tools and equipment used for asphalt, concrete, drywall, flooring, masonry, painting, plastering, stucco, tile and wallpaper.
Still in the design phase, the project is targeted for completion in early spring 2019. “It will be a pre-engineered metal building with a masonry façade. The design process has been fast tracked in all facets with close coordination between multiple owner reps and the city’s building department in a short amount of time.”
Founded in 1956, Woodruff has deep roots in Iowa. Its founders, Leonard Woodruff and Jack Evans, founded Woodruff-Evans Construction. It was a general contracting firm that served Fort Dodge and its surrounding communities in Iowa.
Since opening its doors, the company has been operating under a progressive philosophy that resulted in positive growth. Today, the company still embraces Woodruff’s entrepreneurial spirit. It has offices in Ames, Fort Dodge, Iowa City and Waterloo.
In 2018, Woodruff became a member of the Lean Construction Institute, a nonprofit organization that operates as a catalyst to transform the industry through lean project delivery.
By incorporating lean concepts both on the job site and in the office, Woodruff believes it has increased its efficiency and technique to provide greater value to its clients. Woodruff is also a member of the Iowa Lean Consortium, a member-driven non-profit dedicated to advancing lean principals in all sectors of the economy.
In 2016, Woodruff celebrated its 60th anniversary. Its leadership is made up of Leonard Woodruff’s son Don Woodruff and multiple minority owners. Woodruff Construction's history is the groundwork that continues to underline its progressive culture.