Placing A Strong Foundation

Edited by Mike Larson, Editor | September 28, 2010

Speed and efficiency are key to the $240-million Potawatomi Bingo Casino expansion in Milwaukee, Wis.

Since beginning in August 2006, this project to triple the size of the popular casino has put its contractors on an aggressive timeline. With concrete pours nearly every day, it is racing toward completion in fall 2008.

The casino's owner, The Forest County Potawatomi Community, selected Gilbane Building Company (Gilbane) as construction manager on the project. Gilbane subcontracted the concrete work to J.H. Findorff & Son Inc. (Findorff).

"With 4 million guests walking through the doors of the casino each year, they've outgrown the existing facility," says Gilbane senior project executive, Bob Fenlon. "All of the renovations, from expanded gaming areas to the restaurants and parking structure, are in high demand by the casino's guests." As the construction manager, Gilbane oversees all daily activities on the project, including scheduling, safety and quality assurance.

Placing a Safe Bet on the Right Mix

Findorff's project superintendent Mark Schneider says that the project's location right next to the Menomonee River and below water level required that engineers come up with a special concrete mix for the four-level gaming building and the valet parking area's concrete foundations.

A 5,000-psi mix is being used both for the gaming-building and the valet-parking concrete foundation. The mix includes a waterproofing agent, a mid-range water reducer and 3/4-inch stone aggregate. The 18- to 21-inch-thick mat slab sits on pilings.

In addition, a waterproof membrane beneath the concrete foundation provides an extra layer of protection.

Boom Pumps on Demand

Schneider's team called on a fleet of Putzmeister truck-mounted concrete boom pumps from Gordy's Concrete Pumping, Sussex, Wis., to place the 40,000 cubic yards of concrete needed for this project.

One of Gordy's larger pours came in May 2007, when its 55- and 63Z-Meter truck-mounted concrete pumps placed 2,300 cubic yards for a mat slab in eight hours.

According to Gordy's territory manager, Mike Salmon, it usually takes a year and a half to place 40,000 cubic yards of concrete by traditional methods. On this job, Gordy's is averaging 4,000 cubic yards of concrete per month.

To top off the roof level of the West section of the gaming building and place the second deck of the East section of the casino building, Gordy's used its 55-meter and "Big Dog" 63Z-Meter boom pumps. The two units placed a total of 900 cubic yards of concrete in four hours.

Gordy's will be placing concrete on the site until early 2008.