Campus: CSU Northridge -- December 07, 2001
Fresno State Alumnus Returns Home To Help Clark Construction
Group Build SMC
When Sara Wallet-Loyd was a California State University, Fresno construction
management student in the early 1990s, little did she dream she would
return to campus one day to help lead one of the most ambitious and far-reaching
projects for the university and the San Joaquin Valley.
The 1994 grad has come home to help ensure that the world class $103 million
Save Mart Center is one of the best-built facilities in the nation - a
goal she is charged to diligently pursue in her role as a project manager
for the Clark Construction Group.
The California State University, Fresno Association announced last month
that Clark will be the builder for the premier sports and entertainment
center. At an 11:30 a.m. press conference today, the association and the
contractor will formally announce the signing of the contract to set the
stage for the first major construction activity later this month.
Wallet-Loyd came on campus two months ago to set up shop - her office
trailers are on the Save Mart Center site at Shaw and Chestnut - along
with senior project manager David Simonton, Clark Construction superintendent
Bill Casselman and an office staff of eight that will grow to about 12.
They have been preparing for the arrival of major heavy equipment to excavate
the 33-foot-deep hole that will serve as the arena bowl.
Today, she will join her Clark colleagues in showing the site to Fresno
State President John Welty and Association Executive Director Debbie Adishian-Astone,
as well as some of the construction phasing diagrams at a press conference
announcing the formal signing of the construction contract.
Wallet-Loyd has been immersed in the two-year project that started with
site improvement this summer and will see its first major action this
month when the first six scrapers arrive to begin what Simonton calls
the biggest swimming pool in the valley.
He said 260,000 cubic yards of dirt will come flying out of the arena
hole that will be 33-feet deep and 550 feet long by 300 feet wide. Some
of the dirt, 150,000 cubic yards, will go back into the hole to surround
the concrete structure but otherwise the Save Mart site will become an
instant mountain range.
Wallet-Loyd has been anxiously awaiting this moment and the opportunity
to represent her company at her alma mater.
"I feel that the Clark Construction Group can give the university
the very best facility it deserves," Wallet-Loyd said. "I want
that to happen both as a professional representing Clark and as a Fresno
Wallet-Loyd will handle such business matters as the budget and serving
as a liaison between subcontractors, the architect and the owner.
Wallet-Loyd joined Clark in 1999. When she learned that her company would
be the Save Mart Center contractor, she asked her vice president, Joelle
Hertel, for the opportunity to work at the project.
"It's a rare opportunity to work on an arena in the first place,
but in your hometown at your own alma mater is a challenge I could not
pass up!" Wallet-Loyd said.
She sees her role with the Save Mart Center as an opportunity to give
something back to Fresno State.
"My experience here at Fresno State was fantastic," she said.
"The construction management program, the faculty, every aspect was
great. I value the education I received here."
Wallet-Loyd credits Dr. Frank Goishi, Fresno State construction management
professor, and her adviser, for encouraging her, especially since few
females were in the construction profession.
Less than 10 years after graduating, she has built an impressive resumé.
Most recently, she was assigned to the Fresno Community Hospital addition
for Clark Construction in downtown Fresno; the Corcoran State Prison addition
for the Ray Wilson Company of Pasadena; and the Lemoore Naval Air Station
hospital replacement for Soltek Pacific of San Diego. She started her
career with Sandalwood Construction Company of Fresno. Sharing equal credit
for Wallet-Loyd's success are her parents, George and Corinne Wallet,
who are both Fresno-area pharmacists. As a child, her father ignited in
her a curiosity for "how things are put together" by teaching
her how to use tools when fixing or building things around the house.
Her mother was a role model, entering the pharmacy profession in an era
when few women were in that field.
Wallet-Loyd's self-proclaimed tomboy tendencies reached a milestone of
sorts at the age of 23, when her father bought her a cordless Makita drill
for her birthday.
"My parents argued over that one because Mom said I should get something
more feminine," Wallet-Loyd recalls with affection. "But she
saw how happy and excited I was when I opened it. I was so thrilled to
get such a high quality tool, so she knew then it was the right gift,
and I had made the right career choice."
She said her parents influenced those choices.
"They taught me that with an education and hard work, you can get
anything done," Wallet-Loyd said. Now her challenge to excel and
succeed is driven by that passion for her chosen profession.
"Professionally, there is nothing more exciting than starting with
a big piece of dirt like we have here, building a quality product - on
time, within budget - and turning it over to the owner knowing you have
given them the best possible product for their money," Wallet-Loyd
Wallet-Loyd's ties to Fresno State sports facilities go deep. Her grandparents,
Hagop and Naomi Bujulian, were donors to the Bulldog Stadium drive in
the late '70s. She often enjoys Bulldog football in one of the four seats
that bear their names in the red section.
Sara and her husband, Todd Loyd, a medical assistant, were married in
March 2000 and reside in Fresno.