Massive crane begins heavy lifting
Have you taken a drive by the Baldwin High School and Baldwin Junior High School complex recently? If so, you’ve probably noticed the large crane located between the two buildings.
The massive crane came into town last week for the project that will soon involve large 56 foot high pre-cast concrete walls. However, those aren’t here yet.
“The groundwork is done,” said Merv Penner, site manager for Manning Construction. “All of the concrete is in the ground. Now, obviously, we’re setting the panels up.”
On Tuesday, construction crews started work on the structure of the new Performing Arts Center. For now it’s just the smaller panels that are being built.
“These are the baby panels,” Penner said. “That’s what we are doing now.”
The smaller panels will be dwarfed in size by the larger ones. The small panels are 16 feet tall, 10 inches thick on the bottom and insulated on top.
The first panels being constructed will be the south wall of the PAC. They will form a corridor with the BJHS cafeteria wall to a new bus-drop loop at the northwest edge of BJHS.
“We had to do everything first before we could even work on the structure,” Penner said. “It’s nice to keep the project moving along.”
Construction crews will continue building the south and east walls before the large panels are brought into town. Then the real fun begins for the workers.
They will have much heavier panels to maneuver around the construction site. The panels will be 56 feet tall, 2 to 6 feet wide, 58-60 tons in weight and at least 2 feet thick. They will come from IPC, Inc., which is a primary producer of prestressed and precast concrete products for the commercial construction industry.
The large panels will be built as the wall that surrounds the stage area of the PAC. Penner said they are probably two weeks from putting those up, but that’s just an estimate.
“It’s going to depend upon weather and everything else, like we always say,” he said. “They will be some of the last panels we put up. The last ones will be the north wall. I’d say they are at least two weeks off. We are trying to get them up before the students come back.”
After all of the walls are constructed, crews will begin work on the roof, which is also being built to safe-room standards. The entire PAC will be a Federal Emergency Management Agency safe room that can withstand an EF-5 tornado.
“Then we have the roof to work on next,” Penner said. “It’s an all-concrete roof, too. There is lots to do after we get the panels up before we can think about taking all of the braces down and fixing up the inside.”
A completion date for the entire project is unknown, but Penner said they want to have the large wall panels up before students begin the 2010-2011 school year on Aug. 18.
“The performing arts center project is going just fine,” Penner said. “It’s been too hot at times.”