By Edward Johnson
FORT SILL, Okla. — U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Tulsa District, personnel were on site Feb 2, 2019, overseeing operations as contractors lined up 22 cement mixer trucks to pour a concrete slab, as part of a troop training support facility currently under construction here.
Scheduled for completion in late summer 2019, the facility will include an open, high-bay vehicle storage space, offices, classrooms and a consolidated entry and reception area.
Supporting facilities will also include exterior lighting, storm drainage, fire protection systems, walkways, curbs and a vehicle parking area.
With fair skies and relatively warm winter weather, crews were able to work at a more rapid pace than expected.
“Today we’re placing the third slab for this project, which consists of approximately 1,500 cubic yards of concrete,” said David Smith, a USACE laboratory manager and construction material engineer assigned to the Army Corps’ Fort Sill project office, “We’re using two pump trucks, two different concrete plants and numerous cement mixer trucks to keep the work moving.”
According to Smith, a cubic yard of concrete equates to about four thousand pounds. To put that into perspective, the slab being poured today will weigh approximately 6 million pounds when finished.
“Successfully placing a concrete slab of this size and scope is both an art and science,” said Patrick S. Beard, the District’s chief of military programs. “Given all the engineering and atmospheric variables, it takes a seasoned crew of contractors, project engineers and quality control professionals to ensure everything goes according to plan.”
For that reason, laboratory managers, like Smith, remained onsite throughout the day and will continue to make follow-up sampling of the concrete to ensure it meets rigid Army stress-test standards once the pouring operations here are complete.
“The slab for this project is 24-inch thick and reinforced with two mats of #8 rebar on 12-inch center,” added Smith. “We’re using a laser leveling screed machine to accurately level the concrete to ‘finish-floor’ elevation.”
Smith went on to say the concrete is machine-troweled into a smooth surface using gas-powered troweling machines. A curing compound is then sprayed on the surface to eliminate rapid evaporation loss and prevent surface cracking.
According to Maj Joe S. Cho, an Army Engineer officer with the Fort Sill USACE military construction program, the slab depth necessary for this project is determined by engineering standards necessary to support the structure’s end-use requirements and weight of the building’s overall structural steel.
“Access for persons with disabilities will also be provided,” added Cho.
Managing one of the largest military construction programs in the region, Beard takes a special interest in this project because of the District’s hands-on approach to the project’s design and the structure’s enduring value to the installation and the Soldiers serving here.
“This project was designed by our in-house engineering team and I am extremely proud of the innovative and cost-effective work they’ve done to support military construction here and around the globe,” added Beard.