Putzmeister Concrete Pumps Keep University Athletic Center on Pace for Fast-Track Completion April 2004
STURTEVANT, Wis. (March 29, 2004) – The Milwaukee School of Engineering located in downtown Milwaukee is celebrating 100 years as an independent university while simultaneously building its first athletic facility – the $31 million Kern Center.
The 210,000-square-foot recreation, athletic, health and wellness center was named for generous supporters of the school. It is designed to attract prospective students and provide the current 2,600-member student body with ample access to a wide range of physical opportunities under one roof, whether NCAA athletics, intramural sports or individual fitness programs.
Three Wisconsin-based businesses are spearheading the construction work. Uihlein Wilson Architects, Milwaukee, is the project architect. The construction manager is Hunzinger Construction Co., Brookfield. The pumping company is Gordy’s Concrete Pumping, Sussex and the Ready-Mix supplier is Sonag Ready Mix, Menomonee Falls.
An official groundbreaking was held April 11, 2003 and the project was put on a fast-track pace to meet a fall 2004 completion date. But subsequent excavation in May and June 2003 unearthed some surprises. Soil beneath what most recently had been a parking lot, and previously a Blatz Brewery building, was found to be contaminated with varying amounts of coal ash and oil. Some 6,000 truck loads of contaminated earth had to be hauled off before construction could resume.
The delay shifted the project timetable into an even higher gear to make the scheduled completion date.
As the exclusive concrete pumping contractor on the job, Gordy’s Concrete started its portion of the job using a Putzmeister Thom-Katt ® 50 trailer pump to handle soil nailing and bank stabilization. Then the company used almost every other model in its fleet, from the smaller 32-Meter to the larger 52Z-Meter boom pumps for pouring footings, foundation walls, sheer walls, gymnasium floors, interior decks and other features.
Footings and foundation walls were completed in the summer of 2003. Sheer walls were finished in the fall.
A sheer wall nearly 100 feet high and 2 feet thick stands in the center of the building. This serves both as the building’s main support and acts as a fire protection wall between the ice hockey arena on the east side and a parking ramp on the west.
In total, the footings, foundation walls and deck/topping consumed 9,702 cubic yards of concrete. All were completed in February 2004.
“About 85 percent of the pumping occurred from setup on the street,” said Jim Walters Jr., owner of Gordy’s Concrete. “That was because of the unbelievable congestion onsite where you could hardly drive a vehicle. Naturally, we had to use our larger models – the 42-, 46- and 52-Meter pumps for added reach from the street.”
Three sides of access (three streets) were available from which the pumps could set up to reach their designated pouring spot. Pumping occurred two to three times a week, including Saturdays. A Saturday work schedule was necessary to speed up the project.
Although traffic in downtown Milwaukee was an issue during set up, streets remained open to the public. The streets even remained open during the 100 th anniversary celebration of Harley-Davidson in August, when thousands of Harley motorcycle owners crammed the downtown area.
Special circular wall-forming system
To support an elliptical glass wall, an elliptical foundation was built using the German-engineered, Peri Rundflex method, a circular wall-forming system. The system uses a series of sections that can be adjusted to form specified radiuses. A ratchet wrench is used to set or to adjust the radius of a curve.
This timesaving system enables construction of project-specific walls without use of custom forms. Use of a precise elliptical form was necessary so that steel framework and windows fabricated for the building would fit properly. About 1.2 million pounds of reinforcing steel was used to support the building.
“The general contractor, Hunzinger, has been in business for almost 100 years, and we’ve dealt with them for 40 of those years,” Walters said. “We work great together because we know what they expect and we’re able to deliver. Therefore, they feel comfortable with our equipment and services as well as value our expertise. Ultimately, it’s been a solid working relationship built up over time.”
Walter’s father, Jim Sr., and his uncle, Gordy, founded the concrete pumping business in 1962. That makes Gordy’s Concrete among the oldest U.S. pumping companies in existence.
Gordy Walters passed away and Jim Sr. kept the business going until his 1996 retirement, when Jim Jr. bought the company. Since then, Jim Jr. has expanded and enhanced the business by buying more equipment, conducting more aggressive marketing and expanding staff. The company’s fleet has grown to include predominantly Putzmeister models, among them nine boom pumps, one Telebelt ® conveyor and three Thom-Katt trailer pumps.
JOB SPECS: Architect: Uihlein Wilson Architects, Milwaukee General contractor: Hunzinger Construction Co., Brookfield, Wis. Pumping contractor: Gordy’s Concrete Pumping, Sussex, Wis. Ready-mix supplier: Sonag Ready-Mix, Menomonee Falls, Wis. Equipment: Putzmeister Thom-Katt 50 trailer pump and Putzmeister 32-Meter, 36-Meter, 42X-Meter, 46X-Meter and 52Z-Meter concrete boom pumps