RIPA Works to Shape Starkey Ranch
By: Brenda Ruggiero – CEG CORRESPONDENT
A master plan community known as Starkey Ranch is beginning to take shape just north of Tampa, Fla., in Pasco County. It spans more than 2,400 acres adjacent to Jay B. Starkey Wilderness Preserve, and will include a community K-8 school, a district park, shopping, dining and housing.
Chris LaFace, president of RIPA & Associates, Tampa, Fla., explained that his company is the prime contractor for the site work, working directly for the developer. His portion of the project is valued in excess of $15 million.“It’s a very large project,” LaFace said. “It’s exciting to be on the front end of a couple thousand acres. It’s the biggest project going on probably in central Florida right now — pretty close. We’re moving a lot of dirt, a lot of pipe, and a lot of road.”
Approximately 1.3 million cu. yds. (993,921 cu m) of earth will be moved for the project, which is scheduled for completion by the end of the year. Work began in February of 2014.
Since February, more than 1 million cu. yds. of earth has been excavated. Other quantities include 12,000 ft. (3,657.6 m) of sanitary sewer installed, 15,000 ft. (4,572 m) of storm drainage, and 25,000 ft. (7,620 m) of pressure piping.
LaFace said the project has gone relatively well up to this point.
“One challenge has been that it’s a big project and the amount of time that we have to get it done,” he said. “The summer rain has been the biggest challenge. We were hit hard in this part of the county.”
At least 50 pieces of equipment are being used for the project, and LaFace noted that the equipment is generally owned.
The list includes Caterpillar, Volvo, John Deere and Komatsu, with excavators, haul trucks and a dozer with a leveling system being the main pieces.
The haul trucks were purchased from Flagler Construction Equipment in Tampa.“Flagler has been and continues to be one of our strongest relationship-based vendors,” LaFace said. “Their dedication to RIPA on the sales and service side is something that we greatly appreciate and value extremely.”
The lakes on the property are about 15 to 20 ft. (4.5 to 6 m) deep, and some of them more than 300,000 yds. (274,320 m).
“The community also has an extensive sports complex, which will break ground in early 2015, as well as an amenity center starting in November of this year,” LaFace said. “It is our hope that, should the housing market remain at its current level, this project could provide nearly 10 years of continuous work for RIPA.”