VIDEO: Women lead the way on Presidio Tunnel Tops project

75756A5E-120A-4932-810C-2FD980DB785E

When the Presidio Tunnel Tops opens this fall, it will feature 14 acres of new national parkland including walking trails and a playground that brings in elements of the natural landscape.

Construction on the $98 million project has continued through the pandemic, building over the Doyle Drive tunnels in the Presidio with sweeping views of the Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge.

"More than ever, we understand that people need to be outdoors in nature for their mental and physical wellbeing. So, I think this is the right time for this sort of project," Rania Rayes, Senior Project Manager in Park Design and Construction at the Presidio Trust, told KCBS Radio.

Rayes is part of a leadership team that is somewhat unusual in the construction industry.

"What’s unique is the women on this team are doing the decision-making, the management, the day-to-day coordination of everything that goes on," she explained. "It’s pretty special."

Rania Rayes, Rania Rayes, Senior Project Manager in Park Design and Construction at the Presidio Trust, poses at the construction site for the Presidio Tunnel Tops.
Rania Rayes, Rania Rayes, Senior Project Manager in Park Design and Construction at the Presidio Trust, poses at the construction site for the Presidio Tunnel Tops. Photo credit Kathy Novak/KCBS Radio

Not only are five women heading up construction for the Presidio Trust, the Project Manager for the General Contractor Swinerton is a woman and so is the lead landscape designer from James Corner Field Operations.

"I have never been on a team with so many women," said Rayes. "In fact, I think I was the only woman in all of my previous projects here."

Rayes has been with the Presidio Trust for 15 years. She grew up in Lebanon and said she would have never imagined being on this kind of team when she was studying architecture there in the 1980s.

"I come from a background that’s very different," she said. "I grew up in a different part of the world where this is unheard of. You don’t have women in construction - or at the time when I was a young architect, you didn’t."

Now, she said things are different.

"I think this is a trend, and I’m really happy to see more and more projects that have a lot of women on them. I hope it continues. I think it will."

Featured Image Photo Credit: Kathy Novak/KCBS Radio