Contractors in Memphis, TN are pushing through concrete construction on a new stadium for the NBA Memphis Grizzlies, the FedExForum. Provided a 10-month timeline to complete the concrete portion of the job, pumping contractor Pumpco, Inc., Memphis, is over half way through the job with four months to go. With the use of several truck mounted concrete pumps manufactured by Schwing America, Pumpco has remained right on schedule.

A 796,000 square-foot, 13.8-acre footprint in downtown Memphis will accommodate the 144-foot high, 5-level FedExForum, as well as a 5-level parking garage with the capacity for 1,800 cars, and an administration building. The stadium is 6.5 acres in area and will provide 18,400 seats for NBA fans. Some seats will be retractable for attendees of exhibitions, motorsports shows and other anticipated events at the stadium. An ice floor has also been integrated for ice-skating events and hockey games The Forum will house several fan amenities including a 12,000 square foot lobby entrance, full-service restaurants and sports bars. A 35,000 square foot outdoor plaza has been designed for entertainment and outdoor party venues, and a showcase exhibit will house the Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum. The total cost of construction FedExForum is estimated at $185,600,000.

Along with 6,200 tons of structural steel and 5,100 tons of rebar, 45,000 total cubic yards of concrete will be incorporated into all three structures.

Pumpco’s recent move to Memphis, the company’s sixteenth US location, coincided with subcontractor bidding on the Forum. “I grabbed our sales rep in the area and we headed out. We matched Mortenson’s needs dead on, and our sales reps have been great servicing the project and making sure Mortenson gets what they want. This project has provided a great base for us to start a new branch,” said Pumpco Sales Manager Keith Nelson.

Pumpco maintains a fleet of over 200 pumps in their nationwide network of contracting, service and repair and parts supply locations. From their Denver, CO corporate offices, Pumpco provides general contractors with pumping services and equipment from trailer models to separate placing booms and boom pumps ranging to 52 meters. Pumpco recently expanded their fleet even more with the purchase an S 61 SX, the longest boom in North America.

Dave Mansell, Project Superintendent for general contractor MA Mortenson, Minneapolis, MN, says he had the fullest confidence in Pumpco. “Their fleet has the kind of reliability and quality we look for in a pumper. As far as I’m concerned, there’s only one concrete pump in the world…that’s a Schwing.”

Work on the Forum began May 8, 2002 with Mortenson completing 400,000 cubic yards of excavation in 60 days. Groundbreaking ceremonies took place on June 20. Piles took crews three months, extending into the concrete construction phase. On September 21, 2002 Pumpco’s KVM 52 pumped its first yard of concrete.

“Dave Mansell was adamant about the 52-meter being on site,” said Pumpco President Les Ainsworth, “We had to bring that Schwing in from Houston to get the job.” A respected member in the industry, Ainsworth served as President on the American Concrete Pumping Association, and now serves as Association Secretary.

Keith Nelson agreed that the KVM 52 was essential to the project, especially on deck pours. The overhead roll and fold design of the 52-meter matched the capabilities that Mortenson was looking for with 70 feet of reach and four-section boom versatility. “We’ve needed the 52-meter on site every single day for nine months. So far in the project, we’ve used it to pump eighty percent of the concrete.”

Along with the 52-meter Schwing, Ainsworth estimates that by the end of concrete construction Pumpco will have brought in just about every length boom pump in their extensive fleet. So far, the major players include the 52-meter and the KVM 36 X for slab, grade and wall pours. A KVM 42 has also been on site to complete miscellaneous jobs.

An organized approach has kept crews and equipment prepped throughout the concrete construction phase. Pre-pour meetings among superintendents from Mortenson, Pumpco and ready mix supplier Lone Star Industries, Inc., Memphis, take place 48 hours in advance of each pour.

Operating out of their Memphis distribution terminal and seven metro-area dry batch concrete plants, Lone Star has supplied concrete to several high-profile projects in the Memphis area. Jimmy Skaggs, sales rep for Lone Star says that even with their extensive resume, Lone Star’s experience with Mortenson and Pumpco has been exceptional. “These guys hold to a schedule like no one else,” said Skaggs. “Not even a tough fall and winter held us back.”

Lone Star has dispatched trucks throughout their metro area plants to service pumps at the urban job site. Skaggs said the Lone Star crew has supplied over half of the total concrete yardage this far in the game. Mortenson crews will finish all of the concrete placed in the Forum.

Mansell estimates that once all the concrete has been pumped, placed and finished, sub contractors will have approximately 5 months to complete the enclosure portion of the project. Before August of 2004, all of the interior work will be complete, from seat installation to lighting. The FedExForum grand opening is scheduled for September 2004. “The only hang-ups we’ve had were related to the weather. The equipment and the crews have held their weight, and we’ve kept right on going,” said Mansell.

As construction moves forward at the Forum, Tennessee’s home team continues to play at the Pyramid Arena, a 32-story building which houses 21,000 seats for NBA Memphis Grizzlies and University of Memphis Men’s Basketball Program fans as well as concert and show-goers. No word yet on continued activities and events at the Pyramid once the Forum is complete.