Project Manager Ricardo Becerril and Superintendent Eric Arritola of P&C Construction are leading the Keizer Transit Center project. Both live in Keizer. (KEIZERTIMES/Jason Cox)

Of the Keizertimes

Two Keizer men are spearheading construction of a new Salem-Keizer Transit center right in their hometown.

Project Manager Ricardo Becerril and superintendent Eric Arritola are both Keizer residents. They’re leading the project on behalf of general contractor P&C Construction.

Their goal is for at least 50 percent of subcontractor and supplier contracts to be awarded to local firms.

The two men said their area ties may help in that goal.

“Because we’re local, P&C is local,” Becerril said of their Portland-based employer. “Subcontractors give different prices to different contractors depending on whether they know they’re going to be successful, what their track record is. If they think that Eric’s going to run a well-organized site, keep subcontractors on schedule, they’re going to pass along better prices because there’s a known factor there.”

There’s a feel-good aspect, but it’s also good business, Becerril said. Without those local firms, he said P&C would have had a much more difficult time coming in with the lowest feasible bid for the project.

Becerril and Arritola have both worked on multiple builds and remodels in the Salem-Keizer area, including Keizer Elementary School, North Salem High School and the Department of Administrative Services.

Becerril supervises several projects at a time, while Arritola is working full-time on the Keizer Transit Center, set for completion in spring 2013. Both have about two decades of construction experience under their belts.

They both also enjoy public projects.

“I like the idea that you’re not just working for one private owner,” Becerril said. “You’re actually working for taxpayers and helping contribute. You have all these little buildings communities are paying for that you take a little ownership in being able to help provide.”

“There’s a lot more enthusiasm from both the community and the owners because the expectations are higher, so it’s more challenging for me,” Arritola said. “And I enjoy the challenge. That’s why I enjoy construction.”

And when it’s done, Becerril will likely be driving in a Chevrolet Volt when he passes by the transit center on the way to his next job. He’s happy the building will incorporate sustainable features like solar power for both the building and bus shelters, heat via geothermal wells and on-site stormwater treatment.

The roof also will be green in the literal sense: Plants on the roof will absorb rainwater and can also contribute to lower air temperatures. Observers will notice a reverse pitch: Instead of rising in the center, the edges of the roof will actually be the highest points.

At some point during construction about 150 people will have worked on the site, with about 40 the most at any given time. Becerril is excited to see how the community responds to the new facility.

“It gives people a reason and such an easy access to be able to take a bus to (Keizer Station), do shopping, do whatever they want to do.”