Multiple Pumps Perform for Art Center Construction
Las Vegas continues to invest in culture and the arts with The Smith Center for Performing Arts, a $245 million complex that will house multiple theatres and arts educational facilities. ACPA member Merli Concrete Pumping, Gardena, CA is using nearly every boom size in its 20-pump Las Vegas fleet to finish the project, which will revitalize downtown Las Vegas and enable Southern Nevada to take its place on an international stage, according to a spokesperson for the Smith Center.
Groundbreaking for the performing arts center occurred in May of 2009 and shortly afterward, caisson drilling and filling began. More than three hundred, 80 to 90 foot deep, 3 to 6-foot diameter pipe caissons were drilled on the 4.3 acre site. The job was made more difficult by the caliche, a sedimentary rock that occurs in the desert, and can be harder than concrete.
Merli crews began the job of filling the caissons with long booms using their KVM 52-meter Schwing concrete pump allowing multiple pours from one set-up with its 170’7” reach. This caisson method of foundation construction, with footings poured on top of the drilled piers, is dictated by an aquifer running under the Las Vegas strip, according to Merli’s Las Vegas representative, Wally Istvan.
The company continued pumping on the project with their Schwing S 58 SX with 187’9” reach to place the footings with 6,000 psi mix. The Smith Performing Arts structure is one anchor on the 61-acre Symphony Park development taking shape just north of downtown Las Vegas. The relatively undeveloped area provided pumping crews with access on all sides of the 4-story structure.
As steel erection progressed, pumping began on walls, columns and decks. Merli utilized their mid range 32, 34 and 36-meter pumps with Roll and Fold Booms and the S 58 SX with an Overhead Roll and Fold Boom to place concrete directly through the end hose and also through system attached to the boom ends. Up to 150-feet of 5-inch pipe was laid throughout the structure when obstructions prevented the 4-section booms from reaching the pour areas. Schwing’s VECTOR Control system gave the operators a real advantage on these pours, allowing them to track real time data from their pumps without loosing sight of the point of placement. Merli’s operators were able to control strokes per minute and engine RPMs while monitoring critical operational data from their wireless controls.
“The reach of the 58-meter came in handy when we didn’t have to add system, ” according to Istvan, “The Overhead Roll and Fold boom has a 180 degree articulating first section which allows us to angle the first section away from the structure and insert the tip section in between the steel.” The pumping crew also used the S 58 SX to pour an elevator core centered in the building floor plate. “The 58 sets up fast so when they were ready to pour another 10-foot lift we would drive up, shoot the Super X outriggers, unfold, pump it out and move to another pour on the project. The curved front outriggers allow the operator to maximize the boom’s horizontal reach and also shoot around obstacles unlike swing-out outriggers.” stated Istvan.
Careful consideration has been given to every detail of The Smith Center, from the selection and disposal of construction materials to insulation values and other key elements. The Center’s sustainable features include a concrete roof which was pumped with the S 58 SX. “Corrugated steel forms were placed on the trusses which formed a 1-1 slope,” according to Istvan, “We pumped a very dry one to two-inch slump concrete to the finishers who rodded the mix and floated it.. Schwing’s B-Rock Valve, designed to improve the filling efficiency of the material cylinders handled the mix without a problem and the lLong stroke of the pumping cylinders made for a smooth controlled placement.”
The Smith Center is expected to be the nation’s first performing arts center of its size and scope to be LEED® certified. Since the project’s inception, creating a highly efficient and sustainable campus has guided the design and construction process. “We were very careful to washout according to the project’s specifications,“ explained Istvan, “We could not overflow the washout pond. The Rock Valves used on our Schwing pumps require very little water for clean-up which was helpful.”
Concrete temperatures were also carefully controlled in the Nevada heat. Ready-mix suppliers, Nevada Ready-Mix, added ice to keep mix temperatures at 90-degrees or less. Ready-mix delivery has not been a problem as the Smith Center project is proceeding at a pace unusual for the Las Vegas market which is normally fast tracked for residential, hospitality and gaming properties. “We have not incurred any overtime on the job, which is highly unusual for something built in this town,” Istvan stated..
At a topping off ceremony, a 50-ton steel structure was raised to complete the 170-foot Carillon Bell Tower, which will house 23 bells all cast on-site. This will be the signature for a multi-theatre complex offering a blend of performances by local arts groups as well as first-run touring attractions. It will feature music, theatre and dance companies from all over the world, and will be home to the Las Vegas Philharmonic and Nevada Ballet Theatre. With a scheduled opening of February 25th, 2012, World of Concrete attendees will have to wait until 2013 to tour the facility or attend a performance.
Owner/Developer: The Las Vegas Performing Arts Center Foundation and the city of Las Vegas
Architects: David M. Schwarz Architects, Washington, D.C.
General Contractor: Whiting-Turner, Baltimore, MD
Pumping Contractor, Merli Concrete Pumping, Las Vegas
Equipment: Schwing KVM 32, 34, 36 and 52 truck-mounted boom pumps and Schwing S 58 SX truck-mounted boom pump.