University of Kansas – Allen Fieldhouse

The University of Kansas Allen Fieldhouse has hosted many legendary games in it’s long history. Age and exposure to the elements had caused a number of issues to it’s limestone and brick exterior. The eastern part of Kansas has a wet and cold climate. This contributed to a build up of mold and pollution on the building’s exterior.

The old building was in need of renovation. The Ward family of Kansas City pledged more than $7 million to help with the rehab. The total scope of work involved new windows, lights, a new court, stair towers, fire alarms, sprinklers, and electrical systems in addition to the exterior work.

Western Specialty Contractors' Kansas City Branch received a contract to handle the exterior work. Working from swing stages, the Western crew applied a Prosoco’s Enviro Klean® BioKlean™ solution, allowed it to dwell on the surface for twenty minutes, and then rinsed it off with high-pressure water. A neutralizing agent was then applied. This mildly acidic afterwash not only neutralized the cleaner, but it helped to brighten the limestone.

To help keep the buildng clean, Western treated the exterior with Prosoco Sure Klean® Weather Seal H40, a masonry-strengthening water repellent. The penetrating breathable treatment keeps water out of the stone without changing it’s appearance.

Southern Methodist University – Law Quad

Western proved that doing work the old fashioned way, by hand, is still sometimes the best way. Western crews completed a maintenance and repair project for the Southern Methodist University (SMU) School of Law in Dallas, Texas which required workers to use hand sanding instead of machinery to complete the job. Concrete around the quadrant area had begun to deteriorate due to steel rails being embedded directly into the concrete. Water eventually reached the steel, which caused it to expand and damage the surrounding concrete. The steel rails were sanded to ensure bonding and aesthetic longevity and were sealed to prevent future damage.

The scope of work also included recaulking the walkway and steps, making epoxy injection repairs to the concrete cracks, repairing metal expansion joints, cleaning and repainting steel joint brackets, making overhead concrete spall repairs, repainting and caulking the handrail, removing stains and repairing stone, replacing the corroded hollow metal frame doors, and cleaning the pavement and steps.

The university required that the area be kept completely open at all times for students to walk through, and that noise and dust be kept at a minimum so nearby classes would not be disrupted. Western used strategic planning to allow a steady flow of pedestrian traffic through the construction zone and utilized hand sanding, instead of sand blasting or power washing, to keep the dust and noise levels down.

The strategic planning between Western and SMU was one of the most important aspects of the project. Western effectively planned ahead and mobilized quickly to take advantage of the month-long holiday break to do all of the heavy work. If this work had been done while school was in session, the walkway would have needed to be closed. Therefore, noise and dust was kept to a minimum by planning ahead and hand sanding when school resumed.
– Teddy Williams
Western Assistant Regional Business Development Manager

Western crews were able to successfully complete the project within two months.


University of Notre Dame Football Stadium

As the college football season was fast approaching, Western was contacted to provide a new traffic coating system in all the concourses, concession stands, bathrooms, and pedestrian ramps around the stadium.

The project called for a fast track schedule which included cleaning, preparing, and recoating 270,000 square feet of traffic coating membrane. The project had to be completed in just six weeks to have the stadium ready for opening day.

Western accomplished this task with experience, professional craftsmanship, and by working with the stadium operations staff to meet the schedule.

National Gallery of Art (East Building)

As part of a major restoration effort to the exterior stone facade of the East Building of the National Gallery of Art, Western was selected to help with some restoration work in parts of the Gallery’s air shafts. This presented the Western crew with many challenges due to difficult access to work areas, and stringent production and schedule requirements.

The air shafts are triangular in shape and required the use of several different size swing-stage drops. Safety and access became the number one priority for Western.

The interior of the air shafts consist of a brick facade with a thick coating of dampproofing on top of it. This would normally hinder production and the general progression of work, but the crew was able to develop some alternative means and methods to stay on pace with the schedule needs.

The Western crew’s presence went unnoticed by many of the other trades on-site due to their ability to conduct this work at night. This was arranged to help the general contractor maintain a less congested job site. Another requirement of the job was to document progress on a daily basis. Western’s project management team developed progress maps and reports that were submitted each day, along with photos to document the work and support their requests for payment.

Western was presented with several different challenges and numerous obstacles, and they developed solutions to keep the project on time and moving ahead at the correct production rate. This is another example of Western’s approach to making customers partners through a long-term project.

Webster University “Green Roof”

Western Helps Webster University Grow “Green”

The home campus of global educator Webster University is in picturesque Webster Groves in suburban St. Louis. Encompassed in the university’s worldview and course offerings is a strong sense of environmental awareness. Which made this past April’s Sustainability Conference held in the new East Academic Hall a milestone occasion.

This LEED Silver Candidate structure is three stories and 92,000 square feet of learning opportunities. And on its roof is still another: the lushly vegetated system installed by Western’s St. Louis branch.

The overall roof design called for two green sectors and a third traditional surface. Each of the green areas received a base layer of fully adhered TPO membrane, to which some 1,600 vegetation trays—each 24-by-24 inches—were secured. The remaining roof system included fully-adhered TPO membrane adhered to tapered insulation.

Dealing with live material added to the complexity, confirms project manager Thom Belgeri. “The vegetation trays had to be ordered months in advance, and we had to coordinate our work with that of multiple trades. It was definitely challenging.”

To meet the University’s tight deadlines and aesthetic expectations, Western representatives took part in regular owner’s meetings with the general contractor and architects.

“Our client was most pleased with the results,” Belgeri notes. “And we’re very excited to have contributed to such a high-profile example of sustainability.”

A total of 1,600 vegetation trays, each two-foot square, were secured to the two green sectors to create the lushly landscaped roof. Fully adhered TPO membrane was applied to the entire roof, with tapered insulation affixed to the non-green sector.

African Forest Exhibit at the Houston Zoo

The Houston Zoo located on 55 acres in Herman Park began operations in 1922. It is a home to 4,500 animals representing 900 species. It welcomes 1.6 million visitors every year.

The zoo has expanded several times over the years. The most recent addition is the African Forest phase one, which opened in December, 2010. It covers 6.5 wooded acres and features chimps, rhinos, and giraffes. The African Forest allows visitors to explore and learn in different ways – through traditional signage, interactive elements, and dynamic personal encounters.

Western Specialty Contractors had the opportunity to complete the waterproofing portion of the new construction project for the general contractor, Gilbane Building Company. Western’s work items included:

  • The application of below grade and above grade waterproofing.
  • Installation of sheet good waterproofing membrane and joint sealants.
  • The application of clear water repellents.