Little Rock Federal Building

Restoring historic buildings takes ingenuity and flexibility with materials, equipment and manpower. Western Specialty Contractors – Little Rock, AR Branch used all of the above when it restored and waterproofed the historic Federal Building in Little Rock, AR.

Built in 1962, the Federal Building occupies an entire city block at 700 West Capitol Avenue adjacent to the Richard Sheppard Arnold United States Post Office and Courthouse. The building is a large, seven-story, modern structure utilizing curtain-wall construction with narrow windows separated by limestone spandrels. The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2015.

Western was contracted by general contractor Brasfield & Gorrie to replace all of the building's exterior caulking, which included limestone to limestone joints, limestone to window frames, glass to window frames, and the sidewalk joints. The total amount of caulking to be replaced exceeded 165,000 lineal feet.

Crews from the Little Rock Branch teamed up with workers from Western's Atlanta, GA Branch to complete the extensive work and meet the project's seven-month schedule.

Western workers utilized four, 40-foot swing stages to access the building's 26 total drops. Since the owner was concerned with the unique roof conditions for rigging the swing stages, Western crews provided stage certification and weight calculations for each swing stage.

“Over 100 sheets of plywood were used for roof protection,” said Western Branch Manager Travis DeJohn. “We also used a crane to mobilize and de-mobilize the equipment to and from the roof.”

The scope of work also included replacing limestone at the exterior planters and restoring expansion joints in the underground, 100-foot-long, concrete tunnel that connects the Federal Building and another government facility.

Western's crews removed the tunnel's steel plate covers and existing filler and installed new polyurethane grout in the joints, as well as new steel cover plates.

The owner also requested that only two of the four building entrances be affected at a time during the restoration work.  Western worked closely with the general contractor to phase its work to meet the owner's requirement.

The project was completed on time and within budget. A total of 8,246 work hours were used to complete the project.


Kirkpatrick Plaza Parking Deck

Parking garages are important structures that require extensive maintenance to minimize damage from environmental stressors and daily wear-and-tear. And when parking is at a premium, contractors must make sure repairs are performed in a timely manner and with as little disruption as possible to drivers.

Such was the case when Western Specialty Contractors – Little Rock, AR Branch restored a three-level parking structure for the Kirkpatrick Plaza office building at 10800 Financial Centre Pkwy. Western was contracted by the property manager, Colliers International, which leases office space ranging in size from 577 to 18,317 square feet at the five-story Kirkpatrick Plaza office building.

Western's scope of work on the parking garage included replacing caulking in the garage's exterior precast to precast joints, replacing the caulking at the interior concrete columns to the precast panels, patching concrete, replacing the caulking in the slab control joints, installing deck coating on the top level of the deck and two-thirds of the second level, coating the exterior of the parking deck and installing structural steel brackets.

The scope of work also included applying an epoxy coating to heavily pitted concrete to level the roughness and create a smoother finish for the deck coating application.

Since parking is at a premium in the area, Western's crews could not have access to the entire parking garage at one time. Western met with the property manager and an owner representative to establish a phasing plan which allowed Western's crews to have access to one level of the deck at a time.

Another challenge that Western's crews faced on the project occurred during the deck coating application process. The material used had a minimum and a maximum temperature range for application. At the scheduled time for the coating application, the temperature exceeded the maximum temperature for application, therefore the deck coating was applied at night when the temperatures were cooler.

Despite the challenges, Western completed the project on time and within budget. Western crews worked over 3,000 hours and applied approx. 44,000 square feet of deck coating and 12,000 lineal feet of caulking to get the job done.


First Presbyterian Church

Historic renovations present significant challenges even in predictable situations. In early 2017, Western Specialty Contractors completed an unexpected and challenging repair when lightning struck the bell tower of First Presbyterian Church in El Dorado, AR. The blast was so powerful, a piece of the steeple was recovered a block away.

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the steeple features intricate terra cotta masonry dating back to the church’s original 1926 construction. Western Specialty Contractors had already restored masonry on the historic building, which is why the church leadership sought out the specialty contractor’s guidance on the delicate repair. Western’s branch offices in Little Rock, AR, and Dallas, TX led the project, leaning on their deep knowledge of both historic renovation and this unique building.

Preserving as much of the original steeple as possible was a priority for everyone involved on this project. Western crews looked beyond the immediate work to select the best processes and materials to help the church maintain its building in the future.

In addition to shattering the steeple, the lightning strike damaged the brick support structure underneath. The team removed all damaged parts of the brick support and rebuilt it,
matching it as closely as possible to the original.

After conducting a thorough search and rescue mission of the terra cotta rubble, the team evaluated each piece. Any piece that could be used again made its way back into the steeple.

To fill in the missing spaces, Western workers used GFRC. They then pinned all the pieces to the brick support and coated them to match the original surface. The whole process required meticulous measurements of both the existing steeple and the recovered pieces.

A 120-foot articulating boom lift allowed the team to set the pieces on the street first, then reassemble the steeple on the bell tower. Western set up barricades around the bell tower and the pedestrian areas below in order to allow church access for worshipers during the entire construction process.

The project was completed on time, within budget and safely.


Community Bakery

The Community Bakery is one of Little Rock’s oldest and best known bakeries. It’s famous for its friendly service and great handmade cookies, cakes, and pastries.

The corporate offices are located on the second floor above the main bakery. A concrete balcony walkway surrounding the offices began to show signs of wear and deterioration. The bakery owners called upon Western’s Little Rock branch for repairs.

Western’s restoration crew went into action. Cracks in the concrete slab were routed out and caulked. Deteriorated concrete was repaired. Finally, a non-slip deck coating was applied to protect the walkway and add many more years of service.


Lakewood House

The Lakewood House is one of North Little Rock’s premier high rise luxury condominiums. It was constructed in the 1960’s. It’s facade is clad in precast concrete and metal frame windows with metal panels under each window. Each condo unit features a stunning view of the surrounding skyline.

The owners met with Western Specialty Contractors' Little Rock branch and successfully negotiated the first major exterior restoration since the building was constructed. The scope of work included concrete restoration, window glazing, and caulking of the metal window frames. Finally, an elastomeric coating was applied to the building’s entire 50,000 square foot surface area.


John L. McClellan Memorial Veterans Hospital

Western Specialty Contractors' Little Rock Branch recently completed an EIFS (exterior insulated finish system) project at the John McClellan Memorial Veterans Hospital in Little Rock. Over the years, the UV exposure had faded the distinctive blue panels that grace the building.

Western’s scope of work included cleaning and recoating the EIFS panels with Dryvit’s Weatherlastic coating. In addition to the coating work, the brick facade was powerwashed. The control joints and window perimeters were recaulked.