McCarthy Building Companies, Inc. has hit an important milestone in the construction of the Plano ISD Fine Arts Center in Plano, Texas as it completes the architectural concrete walls. The tall and carefully designed walls are focal points that the rest of the center’s design was largely based upon. McCarthy, the general contractor, is self-performing the concrete work in this state-of-the-art facility that features a 1,500 seat multi-purpose performance hall with an upper-level balcony and lower-level orchestra pit, a 250-seat studio black box theatre, a rehearsal studio for music and dance, and a visual arts gallery.
The concrete package for the project encompassed over 225,000 square feet of exposed, architectural concrete walls that spanned 100 feet tall in certain areas as well as monolithic parterre and tiered balcony concrete decks that are completely supported by concrete columns and cantilevered concrete raker beams.
In order to build the concrete walls in the Main Theater and Black Box Studio, McCarthy used a custom-patterned, rib-like form-facing linerboard that allowed the finished surface of the walls to be shaped in a manner that would properly cause the acoustics to perfectly resonate throughout the space during performances. As the concrete theatre walls are exposed, all the lighting, speakers, and other infrastructure are installed within the concrete. This required immense upfront coordination between McCarthy and the design team. McCarthy built four separate mockups to ensure all potential conditions could be tested and verified.
Further, safety was a top priority for this project mainly due to the colossal scale of the concrete package and the height of the walls. The number one priority was fall protection for craftsmen working 30, 50 and 100 feet in the air on scaffold platforms. McCarthy has robust guidelines and processes in place for these exact hazards and given that McCarthy is self-performing the concrete, some of the risk associated with a third-party subcontractor was eliminated.
The entire concrete scope of work is expected to be complete in August 2020. The project broke ground in the first quarter of 2019 and is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2021.