Music Venue Makeover With Telescoping Boom Pump
A music venue from the 1960s is getting a major makeover thanks to a specialized concrete pump with a telescoping boom owned and operated by Andrews Equipment Company, Jessup, MD. The Merriweather Post Pavilion in downtown Columbia, MD is a premier music venue voted the second best amphitheater in the country by Billboard magazine. Rolling Stone Magazine voted it the fourth best hosting a Who’s Who of rock and roll and pop music. As it neared it’s 50th anniversary, the Downtown Columbia Arts and Culture Commission, which owns the venue, voted to complete a three phase $9.8 million redevelopment.
Leading the construction of new buildings, stage expansion and upgrading of amenities is Costello Construction, also located in Columbia. The commercial contractor prides itself on self-performing 30-percent of their projects with an impressive fleet of heavy equipment. “We have worked with Andrews Concrete Pumping for years and prize their expertise and equipment,” explains Paul Kraft, Costello project manager. A recent low overhead pour showcased the importance of using the right pump for the job.
“There were several small pours for the foundation slabs at the top of the amphitheater’s new covered seating, “ according to Kraft, “At first we were assembling and dragging system over the forms and pumping with a conventional pump located outside of the structure.” When a larger pour of 2,000 square feet presented itself, Andrews brought their Schwing S 31 XT to the project.
Danny Andrews, president of the company and a second-generation owner, is the son of Dennis Andrews, founder of the company and an ACPA past-president, Pioneer and Life Time Achievement Award winner. The elder Andrews embraced the concept of a specialized boom pump by discussing it with Friedrich Schwing in the mid 1990s. “I asked if they could come up with a detachable boom for the small 21 and 24-meter booms they were providing at that time,” explains Dennis, “My point was we needed an indoor boom but it also needed to be able to do longer boom work. I thought they could provide a longer boom to switch out on the smaller boom pumps but instead they came up with the brilliant telescoping boom.” The pumper purchased one of the very first ones sold in 2001. It was on display at the 2002 World of Concrete. “The first 31 was before my time,” explains Danny who joined the firm in 2006 and worked his way up to his present position. The company recently traded their 16-year old 31 XT in on a new one which is their third machine of its type.
“Our finishers were glad to see it show up, “ states Kraft, “It eliminates any form or reinforcing damage by keeping the end hose out of the pour and just makes the work so much more efficient.” The S 31 XT performs so well in low overhead circumstances by unfolding its 5-section Telescopic Double Z boom in only 18-feet 8-inches. With 278-degrees of articulation on the tip section and 268-degrees on the fourth section it offers excellent maneuverability. The telescoping boom’s second section offers 15’3” of smooth horizontal movement which adds to placing efficiency. Overall horizontal reach is 86-feet eleven inches.
“The operator was excellent,” according to Kraft, “He was able to keep the end hose at just the right height and stay ahead of the finishers.” Andrews rotates their operators so they can perform on any of the company’s 18 Schwing boom pumps up to 47-meters. “Our operator on the Costello project, Hector Diaz, is a 10 year employee who has been on the 31 for about five years, “ explains Andrews, “He likes being assigned to that pump because it is so popular with our customers. The S 31 XT works regularly in low overhead situations, pumping to mezzanines, under overpasses and on repair projects.”
The Merriweather project also includes new buildings to house offices. “We had to pump a stairway on the second level and we tried using our crane and bucket without much luck and it was near the end of the day,” explains Kraft, “Within twenty minutes of our call to Andrews the 31-meter showed up and maneuvered up and over a retaining wall and around a light pole to place the concrete in no time. Andrews customer service is outstanding.”
Costello’s experience with Andrews aligns with the concrete pumpers goals – safety and customer service. “Our reputation has been acquired by our dependable performance and willingness to respond when needed, “ according to Andrews, “We believe the best customer service can only be provided if our employees understand and practice our values on the jobsite.” The company’s philosophy helps explain why Hector Diaz was chosen as ACPA’s Operator of the Year for 2016. The award was presented at the 2017 World of Concrete. “We make an effort to insure that our team will make the pumping experience seamless ,” adds Andrews, “ We can only be successful if our customers are successful.”
After 50 years featuring musicians including Yes, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and the Grateful Dead, the Merriweather Post Pavilion is poised to rock for the next 50 years with the new updates. The expansive backstage area now includes offices, a conference room and a multipurpose area with a balcony that overlooks an Artists’ Lounge, complete with an outdoor pool and deck area. “We’re jumping from the 1960s to the 2020s,” said Brad Canfield, Merriweather vice president of operations. “The building is 50 years old, so we didn’t want to make it feel too new. A lot of the venues now are just made of big cinder blocks, so we wanted Merriweather to be welcoming, and make it feel like home.” Nestled in 40 acres of forest between Washington, D.C. and Baltimore the venue still echos from the Who and Led Zeppelin who played here in the ‘70s.
Owner: Downtown Columbia Arts and Culture Commission, Columbia, MD
Contractor: Costello Construction, Columbia, MD
Architect: JP2 Architects, Baltimore, MD
Pumping Contractor: Andrews Equipment Company, Jessup, MD
Pumping Equipment: Schwing S 31 XT and S 47 SX truck-mounted concrete pumps with placing booms.