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Concrete Spurs On

More than 55,000 yards of concrete were placed to complete the fast-paced arena project for the NBA Spurs on time. Many pours were over 1,200 yards and required multiple pumps.

The special design of the sports facility blends South Texas culture and regional architecture.

Concrete Spurs On

A new custom-made arena – different from any other sports facility in the United States – is now home to the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs.

The special design is a blend of South Texas culture and regional architecture, with breath-taking outdoor plazas, generous ranch porches and overhangs. The indoor spaces are filled with hanging icons, festive lighting, food courts and colorful displays.

When a bond was originally passed to construct the $175 million center, lofty goals were set to complete it in time for the 2002 season opener. Having started in August 2000, the major challenge was to maintain a highly accelerated pace of construction during the two-year timeframe. This, however, kept tensions high throughout the building process.

After excavating a huge hole out of an existing parking lot, rainy weather played havoc by creating a giant lake in it. But thanks to the efforts of Capital Industries in San Antonio, progress was still made to start pumping concrete as ways were found to work around the mud once the water was gone.

Pumps placed at edge of hole
Because ready-mix trucks couldn’t drive down the hole’s muddy bottom, Capital’s 52Z- and 58-Meter boom pumps were positioned on the top edge of the large opening. They pumped down into the cavity utilizing up to a 170-foot reach along with an additional 200 feet of hose.

The pumps’ first major job was to place the concrete after the general contractor had installed foundations, which were accomplished by drilling approximately 311 support piers to a depth of 60 feet below the bottom of the hole. The piers varied from 18 inches to 42 inches in diameter.

As the building rose out of the ground on the four-acre site, concrete slabs for the court-side club and event level along with floors, columns and perimeter beams were handled by Capital’s equipment.

“We used every model in our fleet, from a grout pump to do the stairwells all the way up to the Putzmeister 58-Meter to handle the bigger pours,” said Don Faulkner, owner of Capital Industries.

Units ideal for height restrictions
In particular, the Putzmeister 28Z-Meter with its Multi-Z boom proved to be the logical solution for pouring an ice skating rink under low, ceiling-height restrictions. And in general outdoor applications, the compact outrigger spreads of the boom pumps also proved highly advantageous as the units were often required to set up in extremely tight areas to access the site. This was because it was directly adjacent to the still operational Joe and Harry Freeman Coliseum.

“We pumped on a continuous basis, almost every day since the fall of 2001,” said Jeff Shindle, president of Capital Industries. “There was also no lost time due to mechanical breakdowns.”

Over 55,000 yards of concrete (ranging from 3,000-psi to 6,000-psi) were placed to complete the project on time. Many pours were over 1,200 yards and used multiple pumps.

Most of the larger pours were done at midnight because of daytime temperatures reaching over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. The long boom technology of the larger 52Z- and 58-Meter Putzmeister models greatly attributed to the pumping success of the project.

Reach avoids dragging hoses
Kirk Adlong, who was in charge of the finishing crew with Hardrock Concrete, said, “Without the reach of the 52- and 58-Meter pumps, a lot of time would have been wasted dragging hoses. We also saved time by not having to move the pumps. If we decided on a set-up spot, that’s where we stayed throughout the pour.”

Carlo and Vera Salvatore, owners of CFS Forming Structures noted that, “On most of the large pours, we had an average of 140 cubic yards per hour, per pump. With that amount of concrete being placed using three pumps at a time, we were finishing 1,500-yard pours in record time.”

The SBC Center is a partnership between the Spurs, Bexar County, the San Antonio Livestock Exposition and the Coliseum Advisory Board, with SBC Communications Inc. as the naming rights sponsor.

Besides seating 18,500 basketball fans, it will also be home for the San Antonio Livestock Show and Rodeo and the San Antonio Rampage hockey team, seating 17,000 and 13,000 respectively for these events.

As part of the grand opening festivities, George Strait was the first scheduled concert performer at the new center. As a Texas native, he was given the honor of introducing the state-of-the-art arena to all of South Texas in November.

Owner: San Antonio Spurs – San Antonio
Design Team: Ellerbe-Becket, Lake-Flato and Kell Munoz
General contractor: Spaw Glass of Texas and Hunt Construction of Arizona
Pumping contractor: Capital Industries – San Antonio
Ready-mix supplier: Alamo Concrete – San Antonio
Equipment: Putzmeister boom pumps — 58-Meter, 52Z-Meter and 28Z-Meter with a Multi-Z boom