Bryant Denny Stadium

Western Specialty Contractors Replace Deck Sealants on Historic Bryant-Denny Stadium at the University of Alabama

Considered the eighth-largest stadium in the United States and the tenth-largest stadium in the world, the historic Bryant-Denny Stadium at the University of Alabama is an icon in American college football.

Opened in 1929, Alabama’s football stadium was originally named in honor of the school’s president from 1912 to 1932, George H. Denny. In 1975, the state legislature added longtime head coach and alumnus Paul “Bear” Bryant to the stadium’s name. At its peak, the stadium can accommodate over 101,000 fans.

Boasting such a large capacity, the historic concrete, steel, and masonry stadium has seen its share of wear and tear over its 93-year history, which included expansions in 1937, 1946, 1961, 1966, 1988, 1998, 2006, and 2010.

With such an iconic stadium to maintain, the university relies on Western Specialty Contractors –Atlanta Branch to safeguard it. Without routine maintenance and protection, these concrete and steel structures are subject to cracking, spalling, and structural damage from movement and reoccurring freeze and thaw cycles.

Western’s experts work with stadium owners and facility managers across the country to analyze the type and extent of any damage present and recommend cost-effective, remedial measures to protect and extend the facility’s life and keep fans safe. Cutting-edge, long-wearing materials are often recommended to restore and protect a stadium from future damage.

In April 2021, Western was contracted by the University of Alabama to perform concrete restoration and sealant replacement on Bryant-Denny Stadium’s Upper West Deck. Western performed the appropriate restorations at the direction of engineers Walter P. Moore and Javier Balma. Western’s crews removed all the old pre-mold expansion joints and sealants beneath and behind the seating on the Upper West Deck and installed new, two-part sealants and pre-molds. Western also cut out and re-caulked all the control joints on the deck and made minimal concrete repairs at the throats of the joints.

The university challenged contractors to complete the project in a short amount of time to prepare for the fall 2021 football season. When other contractors backed out of the project because they feared removing all of the stanchions and replacing them during the timeframe provided to complete the project, Western’s experts devised a plan using creative means and methods to successfully complete the project ahead of schedule in August 2021.

McLean County Museum of History

Western Specialty Contractors Replaces Leaking Roof in Bloomington, IL
McLean County Museum of History, Helps Save Historic Relics

 

Extensive water damage from an aging roof threatened to destroy treasured artifacts housed at the McLean County Museum of History in Downtown Bloomington, IL. The water intrusion resulted from a 30-year-old, damaged roof that had exceeded its useful life span by more than five years, allowing rain to leak through the roof and insulation, clay tile, and mortar down into the building’s ceilings and interior rooms.

The nationally accredited, award-winning museum occupies the former McLean County Courthouse, an American Renaissance-style structure built between 1900 and 1903. The building features a limestone-clad facade and solid masonry construction with a steeply sloping roof connecting the built-in gutter to the clocktower dome rising from its center. The old roof consisted of a 4-ply, built-up asphalt roof over one-inch perlite insulation mopped to the clay tile deck.

Although the McLean County maintenance staff had repaired the roof over the years, it no longer functioned properly and needed to be replaced immediately, along with the historic building’s drainage system. According to reports, as much as 14 gallons of water had leaked into the building after heavy spring rains, causing extensive damage. Although the water had damaged no artifacts, one area of the museum had to be closed off, and an office was relocated due to the leaking roof.

In 2020, the McLean County Board agreed to hire Scharnett Architects & Associates of Bloomington to perform architectural and engineering services to replace the building’s roof and improve its drainage system. Western Specialty Contractors’ Peoria Roofing Branch was contracted to replace the historic building’s damaged roof, with work on the project starting in May 2021.

Western’s crew removed the old roof and replaced it with a Firestone UltraPly TPO roofing system consisting of an 80 mil white membrane over gypsum coverboard, Polyisocyanurate insulation, and vapor barrier directly over the clay tile deck.

“The entire job was very challenging. We had to stage materials on the grounds as we needed them because the old clay tile deck could not be overloaded,” said Western Specialty Contractors Peoria Assistant Branch Manager Jared Osterman. “Tearing off the old roof every day was equally difficult because we had to crane materials down and up from the street as we progressed.”

The architect designed the new TPO roof system to go above and beyond what the manufacturer recommended, with double membrane thick valleys and ridges and built-in gutters lined with TPO and terminated with a liquid flashing, three-course step. The liquid flashing was used in place of counterflashing to minimize the use of mechanical fasteners in the historic structure. The job also required a 30-year, 80 MPH Firestone Roof warranty, including hail, cut, and puncture resistance.

Western’s Springfield, IL Branch also participated in the project by grinding out reglets, reworking the clay tiles around the drain replacements, and cleaning and sealing limestone at the gutter edge.

Performing a successful mock system pull test to ensure the new roof’s viability and strength, Western completed the roof replacement in September 2021. The museum had been closed to visitors during the roof replacement project while its restrooms were remodeled and its lighting fixtures replaced.

Julie Emig, the museum’s Executive Director, noted that the staff was relieved when the roof was restored. “The quality of Western Specialty Contractors’ work, especially given the complexity of this project, was outstanding. We no longer worry that the next rainstorm could damage our award-winning collections and exhibits.”

Monogram Building

Western Specialty Contractors – St. Louis Masonry Restoration Branch recently completed a $1.2 million facade restoration of the historic Monogram Building at 1706 Washington Ave. in Downtown St. Louis.

Developer Michael Knight, a partner at Revive Capital Development of Kansas City, MO, converted the nine-story brick and terra cotta building, renamed Monogram on Washington, into 168 modern, luxury apartments (112 one-bedroom, 32 two-bedroom and 24 studio), complete with a roof-top pool. The building, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, originally opened in 1910 as a millinery factory and warehouse in the city's former garment district.

Western Specialty Contractors first contracted with St. Louis-based general contractor Paric Corporation in November 2016 to begin work on the building's west elevation while abatement work was getting started. This first phase included installation of 28 new window openings with new lintels and precast sills, 30% brick tuck pointing, pressure washing the entire facade and caulking all window perimeters. Western crews also cut an opening in the south elevation for a buck hoist to be installed. This first phase was completed in September 2017.

A second contract was issued to Western for additional facade restoration work to the north, south and east elevations. Western used two suspended scaffolding and four masons to complete the work in October 2017. The work included:

  • South elevation – tuck pointing 30% of brick joints and 25% of terra cotta joints, caulking all window perimeters and pressure washing
  • North and east elevations – tuck pointing 25% of terra cotta joints and all brick joints, pressure washing, and replacing 10 pieces of missing or damaged terra cotta with Fiber Reinforced Polymer (FRP) replicas

Paric, under the direction of the owner, had Western provide a 135-foot aerial lift so that the jobsite foreman, with assistance from the engineer, could inspect all elevations. Subsequently, Western's scope of work increased to include tuck pointing all brick and terra cotta joints on the south, north and east elevations; plus replacing an additional 15 pieces of terra cotta with FRP.

With the scope of work more than doubling for Western's crews, the change proved to be a challenge to the overall schedule for the building's new roof and pool installation. Western was able to meet the original schedule by adding two swing stages and six more masons working 10-hour shifts, seven days a week. The final facade restoration work was completed in February 2018.

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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.

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Glen Oak Towers

Glen Oak Towers is a housing building in Peoria, IL that gives preference to seniors, veterans and people with disabilities. Originally constructed in 1954, the 15-story masonry structure and its attached 40-space parking garage were showing signs of deterioration and corrosion of the concrete surfaces, as well as weathering from salts and deicers brought into the garage from outside vehicles. Western Specialty Contractors – Springfield, IL branch recently completed restoration of both structures, as two separate projects.

For the first project, Western crews restored the parking structure, located on the back side of the building. With the garage's main level and its suspended deck completely enclosed, the total floor space per level was approximately 10,000 square feet.

The garage exhibited extensive damage to its concrete decking in the form of spalling and cracking, and corrosion to its structural concrete members. Western crews performed approximately 3,100 square feet of full-depth concrete repairs (30% of the suspended deck), 550 lineal feet of structural joist repairs, 55 lineal feet of structural beam repairs, removal of 1,500 square feet of asphalt topping on the upper level and installation 825 lineal feet of gravity-fed epoxy injection.

Western crews installed shoring to support the concrete areas that were not to be removed during the restoration process. The shoring also acted as the support framework for the form work and false floor that had to be used for fall protection.

In order to keep the garage operable for tenants, Western crews performed the garage repairs in three phases. In the first phase, new concrete was installed using a concrete pump. In the second and third phases, new concrete was placed using a concrete buggy to move material through the garage. Once the concrete repairs were completed, Western crews applied a two-component, fast-cure traffic membrane on the elevated parking level.

The garage restoration project started in December, 2015 and was completed in four months.

For the second project, Western crews performed masonry restoration on the building's challenging facade. Crews performed necessary tuckpointing throughout the building and replaced over 5,000 spalled and broken bricks, which were mainly at the shelf angles. Western crews also installed new weeps along all of the shelf angles to allow water that may have penetrated the wall to drain out. Workers then re-sealed all of the shelf angles with a silicone sealant. Western crews also sealed around all newly installed windows, using a Dow Corning silicone sealant.

Due to the building having a lot of ins and outs, Western crews were required to change the sizes of the swing stages often during the masonry restoration project.

“Access was difficult since there were lower roof areas that were not connected all the way around, so we had to move the stages up and down off the roof levels as we went around the entire building,” said Western Springfield, IL Branch Manager Scott Haas. “Roof anchors needed to be installed in order to tie back the swing stages properly.”

The facade restoration project was completed in October, 2016.

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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.