Fall start eyed for Park Square pavilion

WESTFIELD – Westfield Vocational Technical High School students may have the opportunity to climb structural steel this fall with the beginning of the Park Square Green pavilion construction.
Mayor Daniel M. Knapik said Wednesday that the city is waiting for the final engineering plans, which will include a detailed list of construction materials. That task is being done by the city-based engineering firm of Tighe & Bond.
“We’re expecting to receive that the first week in August,” Knapik said. “Once I have that, I’ll hand it off to Brian Falcetti to buy the materials, so work could start in late October or early November. If we could get the steel frame up by December, that would be good.”
Knapik said that the city is acting as the general contractor for the project and will not know the cost of the construction materials until they are purchased.
“We won’t know the cost until we put everything out to bid,” he said.
The city does know that the cost of labor, usually a major part of any construction project, will come in below prevailing wages because the work is being done by students.
Falcetti, the WVTHS carpentry shop lead teacher, said students have already benefited from the project.
“The students made a scale model, one inch per foot, last year and we used that to determine the construction sequence,” Falcetti said. “It will be pretty interesting to see it go up.
“I’ve been waiting for the detailed engineering drawing since last year,” he said. “We worked with Tighe & Bond and Simpson-Strong-Tie to spec out the parts the students will fabricate on site.”
The major fabrication effort will be the eight-sided truss roof that will be installed on the 14-foot high steel frame.
Simpson-Strong-Tie is supplying the steel frame for the octagon structure and has offered the use of a crane to lift the steel into place because of its interest in the student-based construction project. The steel frame being used is designed to facilitate rapid assembly.
“It’s a product called a Moment Frame that is pre-drilled and pre-bolted with six-by-six boards so the students don’t have to drill the steel to mount the wood,” Falcetti said. “We were asked to do this project two weeks after a tornado and didn’t want to build a wooden structure that would basically be a roof on stilts. We wanted something that will hold up to any weather conditions.
The original plans called for the structure to be anchored by eight concrete filled sona tubes, but the plan was modified.
“There’s a four-foot frost wall and the anchor bolts are buried down three feet” into the steel reinforced foundation to provide structural support foe the load-bearing steel frame, Falcetti said.
“Our goal, if the crane is available, is to build the roof on the ground, then lift it and move it aside,” Falcetti said. “The students will then put up the structure and bolt it together. The roof will then be placed on that octagon structure, which eliminates the need for students to be in the air building the roof on the frame.”
Falcetti said that he anticipates it will take a week for the students to construct the truss roof on the ground and a week of assembly time to erect the steel frame and position the roof on the frame.
Knapik said that he anticipates that the finish work will be completed after the winter.
“If we could get the structure up, we’d button it up for the winter and finish it next (construction) season,” he said.

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