Next up for Arena: de crane, de crane

April 09, 2014 / by / 0 Comment

Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of progress reports on the Grand Canyon University Arena expansion.

By Rick Vacek
GCU News Bureau

The good news: The expansion of Grand Canyon University Arena is on schedule. There have been a couple of minor hiccups, but that’s it.

That doesn’t mean, however, that the project coordinators are any less wary. Anticipating problems is a way of life in this business.

“This is the easy part – the demolition,” said engineer Kelly Carlin of Tutor Perini Building Corp., which is overseeing the project along with Bob Machen, GCU’s project development manager. “The tough stuff is coming up shortly.”

Renovation on GCU Arena is on schedule with workers doing 10-hour shifts six days a week.

Renovation on GCU Arena is on schedule with workers doing 10-hour shifts six days a week.

In addition to the demolition work, roof supports have been reinforced, new ducts are in place and work has begun on the two new bathrooms on the south side. That part has gone smoothly, for the most part. Machen said the scaffolding was erected in just three days, and a crew of 70 working double shifts of 10 hours each (6 a.m. to 4 p.m. and 4 p.m. to 2 a.m.) six days a week have taken care of the rest.

But about two weeks from now, a 90-ton crane is scheduled to rumble down Camelback Road and enter the Arena through the newly created gap in the Arena’s wall, easily visible to passing motorists. That will signal the start of a key part of the project: putting the steel in place for the new upper decks, a process that should take more than a month.

After that, sometime in June, comes the pouring of the concrete for those upper decks as well as the Arena floor. The recessed rectangle in which the old basketball floor sat needs to be filled in because the new floor, unlike the old one, will be portable.

The hiccups? There was a city code issue with some smoke-evacuation ducts that had to be resolved, but most noticeable are the two holes that had to be dug on the south side. That’s where two new pillars will be placed to provide extra support for the upper deck on that side.

“That was one of those ‘oh crap’ things,” Machen said.

One other obvious adjustment at the base of the Arena is the cement that was cut away from each side of the lower deck. That was necessary because, with the floor no longer recessed, the stage can be moved more toward the middle of the Arena. However, that requires at least eight feet of passageway on each side of the stage, and the only way to do that was to snip the lower deck.

Contact Rick Vacek at 639.8203 or

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