Building Ascent: Chapter 3

Building Ascent: Chapter 3
December 2019


A blizzard over Thanksgiving weekend dumped 17” of snow on Rapid City, but the storm was short-lived and the poor weather conditions didn’t hamper construction progress too badly. Jesse Varns, a quality control expert with Pete Lien & Sons, explained, “There are challenges when it comes to extreme cold. We’ve got a chemical—what it does is speed up the process of the set time and help it build heat faster. These guys are good at what they do and they get it done.”

During December, Scull Construction focused mostly on the west end of the building, with a lot of concrete work. “We form it, put the rebar in—of which there is a lot—take the forms back off, and then move on to the next section,” said Thom Palm. Progress was made on a 165-foot wall and multiple three-yard boxes; the rebar in the wall was so thick that by the time the concrete reached the top of the form, vibrations would cause it to shift back down so it was only half full again.

The key to a project of this magnitude’s success is communication, according to Karli Mattson, a project engineer with Scull Construction. “There’s a lot of communication that has to happen,” she said. “Anything from setting up drawings and specifications on our document control system to RFIs, RFPs, submittals, product information, shop drawings, making sure dimensions match; all of that gets specified and then mapped out. Our guys take that and put it together in the field...and then the engineers come out and double-check that we did it correctly before we can pour concrete.” 

Dennis Michael Serna, a concrete laborer with Scull, takes great pride in his work. “I like creativity and to know that I was part of something that’s going to be there for a long time,” he said. “I’m very excited to see this building come together, from the foundation...to the roof.”

“I really want to see Ascent flourish because I have friends that actually have started their company through Ascent,” Karli added. “I’m pretty dedicated to getting this project going.”


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