Andersen Concrete Pumping Aids in Reconstruction of Soldier Field 2002
Chicago’ s historic Soldier Field and its popular surrounding recreational areas are currently undergoing a massive overhaul. Dubbed the Lakefront Redevelopment Project, the project encompasses several elements including the reconstruction of the stadium, pedestrian and traffic improvements, and the development of over 19 acres of North Burnham Park off of the Lake Michigan shoreline. One of several contractors involved, Andersen Concrete Pumping and Equipment Rental, Inc., Chicago, brought in a fleet of reliable Schwing equipment to finish various concrete projects on the stadium and in the surrounding landscape.
The largest undertaking in the Lakefront Project is the complete reconstruction of Soldier Field. The Public Building Commission of Chicago and Chicago Park District contracted Turner Construction, Barton Malow and Kenny Construction Company in a general contractor joint venture.
The original stadium was constructed in three stages between 1922 and 1939 for a total cost of $13 million. Soldier Field officially opened in 1924 as a 45,000-seat stadium. Upon full completion in 1928, the structure accommodated 74,280 permanent bleacher seats and more than 30,000 additional spectators with temporary bleachers scattered throughout open areas and promenades.
Since original construction, the stadium has undergone only one major renovation. In 1978, designers addressed basic modernization of the lighting, playing surface, and locker rooms. Press boxes, deluxe skybox seats and a computerized scoreboard were also added. The new amenities caused the seating capacity to decrease to 66,950. Over time, concessions areas and gift shops have undergone minor renovations. Seventy-eight years of wear and tear prompted the approval of funding for renovation. A functional new $365 million 60,000+ seat stadium with improved everything is planned.
To preserve historic interest engineers and designers elected to keep the original colonnades for which the stadium is famous. UBM, Inc., a concrete contractor based in downtown Chicago, completed comprehensive rehabilitation to the massive colonnades as well as joint repair and stabilization of the exterior façade. Underground electrical, storm and sewer systems were relocated, tree protection was implemented and temporary fencing was installed. These precautions and minor rehab projects were completed before the stadium was closed down to the public. Cranes were erected weeks before the Chicago Bears and their loyal fans were moved to Memorial Stadium at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign for the 2002-2003 NFL season. The day after the Bears’ final home game on the old field, crews began demolition.
Major construction work began in March of 2002. From the beginning, concrete contractor Concrete Structures of the Midwest, Inc., West Chicago, and pumping contractor Andersen Concrete Pumping, Chicago, have been at work. To this point, several Schwing units in owner Joan Andersen’s fleet have pumped concrete for several aspects of the project, from the grade beams to the upper decks in the stadium. Andersen’s KVM 32 XL, KVM 39 X, S 47 SX and KVM 55 concrete pumps have been used extensively to complete the project. Concrete Structures’ own 32 XL is also aiding in the completion. "They’re all versatile machines, which is important particularly on this project, said Andersen. "Priorities and schedules change just about every day, and the Schwing pumps are easy to set up and pour wherever and whenever we need them."
Andersen found the installation of the skyboxes a particular challenge in comparison to other pours on the site. Upon completion, the combined volume of the Soldier Field skyboxes will consist of 10,000 yards of lightweight concrete. "The project itself made pumping difficult. Some pours required 300 feet of slickline system," Andersen commented.
Because of the various pumping projects and a scattered agenda, Andersen couldn’t nail down a rate of production. "It varies every single day," she said. But Concrete Structures Superintendent Todd Swenson says the ever-changing specs and timelines of the overall project have not hindered the performance of Andersen’s pumping fleet.
Ozinga Chicago’s fleet of four-axle booster mixers and semi mixers was contracted to supply a total of 40,000 cubic yards to the Soldier Field project. Ozinga, a producer and supplier of ready mix concrete to customers and jobsites throughout the Chicago metro area and Northern Indiana since 1928, estimates that to date, over 14,000 cubic yards of Ozinga Concrete have been poured.
Contractors have coordinated their efforts to complete the surrounding recreational areas at the same time Soldier Field opens for business. In the $147 million North Burnham Park reconstruction, known to contractors as the infrastructure, Peter Lindsay Schaudt Landscape Architecture is responsible for the design of new parkland, Children’s Garden, sledding hill, winter garden, a Veteran’s Memorial, hard-surfaced sports areas, and the reorientation of the campus and stadium entrance to an adjacent street interchange. A new museum visitor’s center will improve access to the museum campus. New and expanded parking facilities are also in the plans, including a 2,500-square foot underground garage north of the stadium and a double-deck parking area to the south.
The infrastructure budget also makes room for a $269 million storm damage reduction system along the Lake Michigan shoreline. Andersen Concrete Pumping is doing double-duty as the pumping contractor for the Army Corps of Engineers, Chicago District. The Corps has planned the renovation on 3,760 linear feet of shoreline and the construction of step stone revetment, a stone barrier that will protect Burnham Park from water erosion. As the revetment is projected for completion in 2010, temporary barriers are required to protect the park in the meantime. Joan Andersen estimates her fleet has pumped 12,000 cubic yards of concrete into a barrier that runs along the Lake Michigan shoreline. The barrier will remain up until the revetment is completed. The pump owner says they will complete another 12,000 cubic yards before Fall 2003. Andersen’s KVM 32 XL and KVM 39 X are pumping the wall. "The 39 is perfect for this job," said Andersen. The model features X-Style Outriggers that allow for quick and compact pump setup and repositioning.
With the exception of the storm reduction systems and other projects along the shoreline, concrete elements for the entire Lakefront Redevelopment Project are planned for completion in January of 2003, and Andersen says the high production of her Schwing fleet has kept them right on schedule. "My fleet has been very effective on all of these jobs. It’s important to have reliable, easy-to-operate units because project specs change on an almost daily basis. These pumps can do it all."