Cold temps don’t stop construction workers

Kalamazoo, construction workers
Construction workers in the cold and ice at the Exchange Building site in Kalamazoo. (Dec. 14, 2017)


KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — While many of us spent Thursday bundled up inside to keep out of the cold, another group of people was outside all day working: construction workers.

“The work continues as long as we’re able,” Lee Garrity, project manager at the Exchange Building construction site in Kalamazoo, said.

Thursday’s was one of the coldest mornings of the season, but construction crews in Kalamazoo were at work before sunrise.

“Yeah, the work doesn’t stop,” Jason Wheeler, public relations coordinator for Orion Construction, said.

While most people hurried inside to avoid the frigid temperatures, 30 to 40 workers were getting ready to spend about 10 hours outside in the cold air.

“I typically have long johns on every day,” Garrity said. “Gloves. Several layers: I usually wear a long-sleeve shirt, sweatshirt, plus a vest or a Carhartt jacket. And we try to stay moving, that helps.”

Workers broke ground on the $52 million Exchange Building in April. It’s supposed to be finished in the spring of 2019. The 15-story building will have parking, retail, office space and apartments. To keep the project on schedule, cold-weather days don’t happen very often.

“They just keep finding a way to keep things moving,” Wheeler said. “They heat spaces they need to. These guys have all been doing this for a long time, so they kind of understand the constraints we’re working within when it gets this cold.”

“But all in all, we’ve had a pretty good year as far as being able to push through the weather,” Garrity noted.