Despite herding elephants, mediating mud cutters and overcoming challenges presented by the magnitude and breadth of construction, perhaps the most significant obstacle faced by the project team was posed by Mother Nature. Nashville’s summer of 2010 tied records for heat and rainfall and kicked-off with a flood that took 21 lives. Torrential downpours on May 1 and 2 brought more than 19 inches of rain to some areas and caused a 1,000-year flood in Tennessee, Kentucky and Mississippi. More than 13 inches fell on Nashville alone causing the Cumberland River to crest at nearly 52 feet — the highest level since 1937. After the flooding the project team fought a record string of 31 days of temperatures topping 90 degrees, which was the second longest string of heat on record, contributing to the third hottest summer in Nashville’s history. According to McCall, the heat took its toll.
“During the height of the concrete operation it was uncommonly hot. About five workers a day were going to the onsite clinic because of heat related issues, but the team was still charged with meeting a tight schedule,” McCall says. “The team persevered and kept the project on target.”
The team didn’t have much time to recover from Nashville’s severely hot and wet summer. A brief fall ushered in one of Nashville’s coldest winters on record. Temperatures averaged 4 degrees below normal all season at a frigid 35.6 degrees, culminating in a February that saw only 4 days rise above 50 degrees. Amazingly, the project team managed to keep the project on schedule through everything Mother Nature sent its way.
“We had numerous challenges to overcome related to schedule,” Borello explains. “We worked together to overcome these, re-scheduling pours, working double shifts and overtime as a team with no delay letters back and forth. Ceco performance has been exceptional, with full team commitment to schedule and service.”
As the project team puts the finishing touches on the structural elements of Music City Center focus turns toward the finish trades and a targeted opening date of Spring 2013. McCall reflects on the success of the concrete scope as things move forward. “The owner’s team, construction management side and prime contractors including Ceco have maintained a cooperative relationship on the project,” McCall explains. “That’s necessary with a timeline this short, and it speaks to the quality of the companies and individuals involved with all aspects of the project. We’ve approached this with a team mentality to solving issues, rather than an ‘us vs. them’ approach. We feel good about getting everyone to buy into this and it’s proven very successful in mediating issues, from schedule to budget to construction. If things continue the way they have with work to date we’re going to have something to really sing about in Music City.”
Dave Sheldon is the national business development and marketing manager of Ceco Concrete Construction, LLC. He has also worked in economic development, advertising, public relations and the resort industry, and spent 7 years as a music and humor columnist and staff editor for a local weekly publication.