Ohio Department of Natural Resources Capital Improvement Initiative

Location Statewide, OH

Client Ohio Department of Natural Resources

Services Program Management, Project Management

Project Value $150 million

Hill is providing owner’s agent services to ODNR’s Engineering Division for the agency’s capital improvement initiative (CIP). Hill has been working with the ODNR since 2015 and has implemented approximately $1 billion in projects in that time. ODNR owns and manages more than 800,000 acres, including 75 state parks, 21 state forests, 136 state nature preserves, and 150 wildlife areas, along with 120,000 acres of inland waters, 7,000 miles of streams, 481 miles of the Ohio River, and 2.25 million acres of Lake Erie.

The operations of all of these different domains are managed by divisions of the Department, such as the Division of Wildlife and the Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management. Each of these division operates uniquely and changes to respond to the needs of the state. Importantly, all the divisions receive funding separately. A variety of restrictions and expectations are associated with all of the potential funds for projects that a particular Division would undertake.

Accordingly, the specific projects that Hill supports under the umbrella of the Department-wide CIP are diverse and include new dams, modern marinas, water-treatment infrastructure, and idyllic campgrounds throughout Ohio. Each specific project is for a different end user (i.e. one of the ODNR’s other Divisions). Some projects involve coordination between Divisions or with government departments outside of the ODNR. Projects are delivered using varying methods, including design-build and CM-at-Risk.

ODNR’s Hocking Hills Lodge was the 2023 Building Columbus Awards’ Best New Hospitality Project. This $40 million project involved replacing a lodge that had burnt down in 2016 with a larger and more resilient facility, and one that offers more amenities for park users. The new 74,000 SF, structural-timber facility includes 81 guest rooms, a large lobby with oversized fireplaces, indoor and outdoor pools, business meeting spaces for more than 200 people, a café, a fitness center, a gift shop, and a full-service restaurant.

Hill’s primary program management tasks include strategic planning and identifying construction best practices and processes. Additional program work assignments include: program budget management/cost accounting for approximately $150 million per year in capital funding across multiple account lines, financial/contract compliance and other data collection and reporting, compliance and constructability reviews of design documents, reviewing pre-construction cost estimates, independent cost estimates of portions of work, reconciling estimates with budget and negotiation of a guaranteed maximum price, attending progress meetings as needed, reviewing contractor’s monthly pay applications for owner approval, reviewing and resolving construction claims involving the owner or modifications to the negotiated guaranteed maximum price, supplementing quality assurance/quality control services, and assisting in punch-list review for owner accuracy.

The cash flow projections and financial controls are paramount to the success of the program. The state has a “wish list” of projects that it wishes to accomplish and designates its priorities. The funds made available each year for projects include a variety of restrictions that need to be carefully managed prior to project implementation. The oversight that Hill provides allows the optimal amount of money to flow to projects according to the desires of the state. And of course, the desires of the state attempt to reflect the needs of the tax-paying constituents.