Construction at the Highlands Performing Arts Center is coming along as scheduled and crews are currently busy installing the structural-precast concrete slabs that will make up the walls to house the new 300-seat theater.
Pictured below is a glimpse of Choate Construction crews installing pre-cast concrete slabs to house the new theater at the Highlands Performing Arts Center.
Work is being done by Choate Construction Company and project Superintendent Russell Hartness said the precast-concrete portion of the PAC project consists of 43 slabs of varying dimensions.
Hartness said on average the pieces are roughly 6-feet to 12-feet wide and vary from 30-feet to 73-feet in length. The lightest piece is 37,150 pounds and the heaviest is 54,000 pounds. A 300-ton mobile-hydraulic crane is being used to lift the slabs into place.
Hartness said each piece was engineered and designed specifically for the PAC. The slabs were precast off site and then transported to the Highlands via flatbed truck, which proved to be difficult.
“The biggest challenge is trucking the wide loads up the mountain to Highlands,” said Hartness. “The Highlands Police Department and NC State Patrol have been the key in making this successful.”
He added that once the slabs are lifted into place, each panel is welded together using steel components embedded into the concrete slabs.
Hartness said work over the next couple of weeks will include finishing the installation of the slabs for the new theater and beginning work on underground utilities.
Wall signing ceremony
A wall-signing ceremony was held on Oct. 15 where people had the chance to sign the first slab put into place. The signed slab will make up the interior wall backstage of the new theater and PAC Executive Director Mary Adair Trumbly said the signatures will be visible forever.
In attendance were donors to the PAC’s Capital Campaign, members of the PAC Board of Directors, the Building Committee, the PAC’s resident groups, Town of Highlands officials, and the lead crew from Choate and JLL.
Trumbly said the wall-signing event was a “topping off” of sorts, similar to when the last steel beam of a project is put into place, only in this case it was the first slab that was installed.
She added that the immediate goal is to install the roof of the theater as soon as possible so construction can continue indoors throughout winter, and given Choates’ progress on the project so far, she said it’s likely they’ll achieve that goal.
“Choate Construction is an awesome company,” said Trumbly. “They worked through the rain two weeks ago. They want to finish on time! To see so much progress this fast is truly amazing.”
Read more about the PAC construction project HERE.
Article and photos by Brian O’Shea
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